case reported at school
By ROBYN BURNHAM
Source of Article: http://www.journaltribune.com/pastnews/november2008/NEWS111908.HTML
School Administrative District 71 School Board members and staff
addressed the public and concerned parents on Monday, following the fifth
reported case of hepatitis A at Consolidated School on Friday.
Its been quite a
challenge, said Principal Kathy Pence on Tuesday. Its still likely
that we are going to get some (additional) cases.
In September, the two
original cases of hepatitis A reported in children were contained to one
extended family. School physician Donald Burgess said the original case
was believed to be contracted by a family member who had been traveling.
The school sent
letters home to the families of children in the classes with infected
In October, two more
students at Consolidated School contracted the virus, and did not have
direct links to each other or the two previous cases. Following those
reports, the Maine
Center for Disease
Control held a vaccination clinic on Nov. 6, and vaccinated all of the
staff and about 80 percent of students. The fifth case was reported Nov.
Its been an
emotional and difficult time for us, said Brandon Gillard Monday.
Gillard said his son was infected, and worries his daughter may now have
Parents who spoke on
Monday were worried about the way the situation was handled, and how and
when parents were notified. A few parents asked if the School Board would
enact a policy to deal with this and future situations.
Its hard as a parent
to know we have done everything possible at home and in our classrooms,
and my kids are still sick, Amanda Murray said Monday. I had my four
children tested today, and I have three sick children now at home.
Andrew Pelletier told parents the state agency was in charge of dealing
with the outbreak and recommended measures that the school district take to control the outbreak and notify
parents and the public. He said additional cases might be reported due to
the incubation period 15 to 50 days of the hepatitis A virus.
Due to the time
interval since the initial infections, the new cases are probably a
second generation of the infection. Students who were vaccinated may
still have contracted the virus but not show symptoms, or could become
infected before the vaccine is fully effective.
Hepatitis A is a viral
contagious liver disease. It can range in severity and length, but is not
a chronic condition. It is typically contracted by ingesting fecal matter
contaminated by the virus on other people, food or drink. Pelletier said
hepatitis A usually results in mild illness in children, but in adults,
can be more severe and even life threatening.
Pence said the school
has taken steps to stop the spread of the virus, including shutting down
the salad bar at lunch; switching to disposable trays and silverware;
changing to a CDC approved disinfectant for cleaning; increasing cleaning
of surfaces like desks and door knobs; and reinforcing good hygiene with
has approximately 208 students in grades kindergarten through five.
Adults and children exhibiting symptoms including fever, fatigue, nausea,
joint pain, abdominal pain or jaundice should contact their health care