Hepati­tis A in Oa­maru

Waitaki Herald - - FRONT PAGE - MARK QUIN­LI­VAN

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.

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