Wales

Hepatitis A cases in Barry and Penarth spread

Hepatitis A virus infecting an intestine Image copyright Dr_Microbe/Getty Images
Image caption Hepatitis A virus infecting an intestine

An outbreak of Hepatitis A in the Vale of Glamorgan has now spread to seven confirmed cases.

Public Health Wales (PHW) said the viral infection has spread beyond a cluster of five cases at two primary schools in May.

But it said the patients were all linked to one another and "there is no evidence of a wider public health risk at this time."

The infection is described as unpleasant but is not usually serious.

Image caption Pupils in specific years at the two schools were offered precautionary vaccinations last month

Some pupils at Victoria Primary School in Penarth and Palmerston Primary School in Barry were offered jabs "as a precaution" last month.

The two new cases do not involve children at these schools although both have direct links to the original five cases.

Dr Rhianwen Stiff, PHW consultant in communicable disease control, said: "Hepatitis A is a viral infection that may cause flu-like illness or gastrointestinal upset.

"Hepatitis A can be unpleasant, but it's not usually serious and most people make a full recovery within a couple of months. Children often only have a very mild illness or do not have symptoms at all."

Hepatitis A facts

  • Anyone can be infected but illness can be more severe in the over 50s
  • The virus is excreted in faeces and can be passed onto people when something contaminated (e.g. food, water) is put in the mouth
  • Symptoms include flu-like illness such as tiredness, aches and pains, headaches and fever, as well as loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, abdominal pains, jaundice, very dark urine and itchy skin.
  • Complications are rare and most make a full recovery within two months.
  • Good hand washing is encouraged, particularly after using the toilet and before preparing or eating food.
  • Anyone infected needs to see a doctor but there is no specific treatment. Alcohol should be avoided
  • People are advised to contact their own GP or NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 if they have any concerns about their health or their child's health.
  • Source: Public Health Wales

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