Caution Issued As Hepatitis A Outbreak is Reported in Sussex

The outbreak has occurred in the Whitehawk area.

A series of Hepatitis A cases have been reported at Whitehawk in Sussex.

The outbreak has predominantly taken place at City Academy Whitehawk.

So far their have been 5 known cases at the school. It is unclear as to whether or not this has spread further.

Public Health England (PHE) will nonetheless take measures to safeguard the school to ensure no further spread.

Vaccinations are currently being offered to both staff and pupils.

This will take place next Thursday, with all 375 pupils and 68 staff members offered the vaccine from PHE and the Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust.

The head of the Whitehawk school, Mark Church, has given reassurance that they are taking the matter seriously: “we are working closely with PHE and Brighton and Hove City Council, NHS Brighton & Hove CCG and NHS England to ensure we can do everything possible to help prevent further cases”.

He also gave his best wishes to those affected: “We wish those children who have contracted Hepatitis A a speedy recovery to good health and look forward to welcoming them back to school”.

In total there have been 8 cases, with 3 also reported in the wider community.

The infection can be spread in a variety of ways.

The NHS states that these are:

  • Eating food prepared by someone who has not properly sanitised their hands
  • The intake of contaminated water (or ice cubes)
  • The ingestion of raw or undercooked shellfish from contaminated water
  • Close contact with a carrier of Hepatitis A
  • Having sex with someone with the infection or using contaminated equipment to inject drugs

The risk of infection is generally considered to be low, with the majority of people not highly susceptible.

There is a vast list of symptoms for Hepatitis A.

The NHS warns that these are:

  • Feeling fatigued
  • Unusual muscle and joint pain
  • A high temperature
  • A loss of appetite
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Pain in the upper-right part of your stomach
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Dark urine and pale stools
  • Itchy skin

If you are worried that you, or someone you know, show symptoms then a blood test can confirm the illness.

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