A outbreak at Solihull primary school
of Article: http://www.birminghammail.net/news/top-stories/2009/04/27/hepatitis-a-outbreak-at-solihull-primary-school-97319-23483838/
27 2009 by Tony
Collins, Birmingham Mail
FOUR children from a primary school in Solihull have
been diagnosed with hepatitis A, it was revealed today.
The four cases at St Alphege Church of England Infant
School in New Road, Solihull, were confirmed by the Health Protection
Agency, which is now advising the school on control measures.
Parents of children at the school have been informed
and all staff and pupils are being offered vaccination as a precautionary
Although hepatitis A does occur in the UK, it is more
common in countries where sanitation and sewage disposal can be poor,
particularly Africa, northern and southern Asia, and Central America.
One parent said: “This is a Third World virus spread
by poor hygiene, not something you would expect in our schools.”
The parent, who did not want to be named, claimed
that the first case among the Year 2 pupils was in February, but claimed
parents had not been notified until the other children had gone to hospital
with the virus.
“The two-month delay in acting has potentially put
250 families at risk. Many would have been away over the Easter break
mixing with other children.”
Calls to the school were referred to the Health
Protection Agency, which is working with Solihull Care Trust and Solihull
Council in trying to control the outbreak.
The original source of the infection is not known,
but the Agency said it remained vigilant to any other cases arising.
Dr Roger Gajraj, consultant for the HPA in the West
Midlands, said: “Although outbreaks still occur, hepatitis A infection has
become less common in the UK nowadays with a high proportion of cases
acquired during overseas travel. Symptoms tend to be quite mild in children
but more serious in adults.”
They include pale stools, dark urine, loss of
appetite and nausea and vomiting through to more severe symptoms such as
liver inflammation or jaundice (yellow-looking skin) and in very rare
cases, liver failure.
Dr Gajraj said hepatitis A is easily prevented by
good hygiene, particularly after using the toilet, and by washing hands
thoroughly with soap and warm water, especially before preparing food or