Diners advised of hepatitis A symptoms after Ripon outbreak
People who have eaten at a pub in a North Yorkshire town hit by an outbreak of hepatitis A are being advised to be aware of its symptoms.
Public Health England (PHE) has issued precautionary advice to anyone who ate at So! Bar and Eats in Ripon between 8 and 23 June.
A food handler at the premises is among 23 confirmed cases, with 19 of those at Outwood Academy school.
The pub said it remained open after an inspection deemed it being "low risk".
PHE said there were "currently no cases identified among diners and visitors of the bar" but told previous customers to look out for symptoms, particularly jaundice - a condition which causes the skin and whites of the eyes to turn yellow.
So! Bar and Eats also has premises in Harrogate and Knaresborough but PHE said only the Ripon venue was affected.
The source of illness remained under investigation, PHE said.
Robert Thompson, director of So! Bar and Eats, said: "We can confirm one member of our team has hepatitis A and are pleased to say they are recovering well.
"We informed EHO [Environmental Health Officers] and PHE as soon as the diagnosis was suspected.
"Following inspections last week and our annual routine inspection, that had already happened in June, they confirmed our standards are good and hence any risk is low and so they were happy for us to remain open."
Cases 'not linked'
Dr Simon Padfield, consultant in Communicable Disease Control, said the risk of diners "developing the infection has been assessed as low, but if they develop symptoms, they should contact their GP or NHS 111 for advice".
Wetherspoon said its Unicorn Hotel in the town was also affected.
A spokesman said: "We can confirm that a member of the hotel team contracted hepatitis and is currently off work. The local authority have been informed and we are in contact with them."
He said the pub and hotel remained open.
Dr Padfield said hepatitis A cases at the school and elsewhere "do not appear to be linked".
"Reports of new cases of illness connected to the school have slowed down during the past week and this is encouraging," he added.
The school has about 650 pupils aged 11 to 18.
Hepatitis A advice
- Hepatitis A is passed from person to person by eating food or drinking water containing the virus
- The virus can spread easily within families and where people live closely together
- The virus is passed out in the faeces so it is important to wash hands after going to the toilet and/or preparing food
- The symptoms of hepatitis A are similar to flu and include mild fever, joint and muscle pain, feeling and being sick, diarrhoea, loss of appetite and stomach pain
- This can be followed by jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes), dark-coloured urine and itchy skin
- Anyone with suspected hepatitis A infection should not attend school or work until their doctor advises return
Source: NHS England