Gold Coast Health is investigating a cluster of Hepatitis A that has broken out at a Gold Coast primary school.
Four students from Arundel State School have been confirmed to have the virus, with another suspected case awaiting confirmation.
As a result, The Gold Coast Public Health Unit (GCPHU) is offering hepatitis A vaccinations to all Arundel State School students, their households and school staff.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
GCPHU Physician Dr Vicki Slinko says handwashing is the next best defence, especially while waiting for the vaccine to take effect.
“Hepatitis A is a viral infection that affects the liver and spreads when faeces from an infected person contaminate something transferred to another person’s mouth,” she says.
“The virus is present in the bowel of an infected person, so the most important preventive measure is meticulous hand washing after going to the toilet and before preparing or eating food.”
The GCPHU says they are still actively investigating whether there are other cases from the general community in this cluster.
They are also working with Arundel State School on strategies to prevent further spread, such as increased cleaning measures.
The GCPHU and Arundel State School have advised parents of the hepatitis A cluster and will continue to keep parents and the community informed.
Health Authorities are urging anyone to see a doctor immediately if your child, or any adult in same household as your child, becomes unwell with the following symptoms
- abdominal pain
- vomiting and diarrhoea
- jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
- nausea, loss of appetite
- dark urine
- pale faeces
Adults and children aged over 12 months can receive long term protection against hepatitis A through vaccination.
One dose of hepatitis A vaccine will give protection for around one year, and a booster dose after 6 months will give long term protection.