Public Health England has issued a statement to say cases of Hepatitis A connected to Outwood Academy in Ripon are continuing to slow down.
Dr Suzanne Coles, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control at PHE Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “Following laboratory testing, we can confirm that a total of 20 cases of Hepatitis A have been confirmed connected with Outwood Academy, Ripon. Reports of new cases of illness connected to this school continue to slow.
“We have also identified a total of 7 cases of Hepatitis A confirmed in the wider community since 19 June. We’re aware all cases were in the Ripon area prior to their infection. The source of illness and any potential common links between these cases remains under investigation.”
Dr Coles added that no further possible cases had been notified with links to ‘So! Bar and Eats, Ripon’ following confirmation of a case in a food handler there. One of the recently confirmed cases is known to attend Middleham CE Primary School. As a precaution, children at this primary school are now being offered vaccination. In addition, children at Spennithorne CE VC Primary School are also to be offered vaccination, since children there recently took part in shared activities with Middleham CE Primary School.
She continued: “I understand that the confirmation of further cases in the community may be of concern, but it’s important to remember that the risk remains low. NHS services are identifying cases of Hepatitis A and providing care promptly and those affected are recovering. Their household contacts are being followed up to reduce the risk of the infection spreading. Hepatitis A is usually a mild illness, though it can be more serious in adults. GPs in North Yorkshire remain vigilant to further cases.
“Parents of children at the schools where vaccination is to be offered have been informed of the recent case at Middleham Primary School and symptoms of Hepatitis A so they can be alert to signs and symptoms of the infection. In particular, jaundice (a condition which causes the skin and the whites of the eyes to turn yellow) could indicate infection with Hepatitis A. Anyone developing symptoms should contact their GP or NHS 111 for advice. People are urged not to contact GPs if they remain well.
“Hepatitis A is passed from person to person by eating food or drinking water containing the virus. Local food businesses are reminded of the importance of good food practices and hygiene standards. The virus can also spread easily within families and where people live closely together. To avoid the spread of infection, everyone should make sure they wash their hands, particularly after going to the toilet and before preparing food. If a person has, or is suspected to have, Hepatitis A it is also very important that they prevent the spread of the infection by avoiding handling and preparing food for others.”
A case of Hepatitis A has now been confirmed at Middleham CE Primary School in North Yorkshire.
Students and staff at the school are to be offered vaccinations, along with Spennithorne CE VC Primary School, after taking part in shared activities.
General information on Hepatitis A can be found at www.nhs.uk or by phoning NHS 111.