Hepatitis A in Oamaru
Public Health South (PHS) are investigating after three children from two families were diagnosed with hepatitis A in Oamaru.
The children, who are associated with the Edna McCulloch Kindergarten in Oamaru, were diagnosed with the illness by the Southern District Health Board (SDHB) on Friday.
Hepatitis A is a viral illness that is acquired from consuming contaminated food or water. Symptoms include sudden tiredness, fever, nausea, abdominal pain, yellowing of the skin and eyes, and dark urine.
The SDHB said PHS is working with the kindergarten to see if any other families might be affected.
SDHB medical of health Dr Keith Reid said it was unclear where the infection originated from.
‘‘We don’t think the kindergarten is the source of the infections.
‘‘I have advised the kindergarten to continue to operate normally during our investigation.’’
Reid met with parents and kindergarten staff on Friday to help them understand the situation. Blood testing and vaccinations would be carried out next week.
‘‘We are undertaking this blood testing to get a picture as to whether other families at the kindergarten may be affected, then we can offer them appropriate support and treatment,’’ he said.
‘‘The vaccination is intended to prevent any spread of the infection.’’
In young children, hepatitis A can occur with no outward signs of infection and may be passed on silently.
The SDHB said the best way to prevent the spread of the illness is through good hand hygiene.
People should call the Healthline on 0800 611 116 if they have any questions about the illness.
Blood testing and vaccinations in Oamaru.