Hepatitis A concern at Rhyl primary school

Reporter:

Suzanne Jordan

A PUPIL at a Rhyl primary school has been diagnosed with the viral infection hepatitis A.

Parents of children at Ysgol Dewi Sant received a letter on Friday from Public Health Wales which confirmed the case. The letter stated: “Public Health Wales has been informed that a child who attends the school has been diagnosed with hepatitis A. Hepatitis is a viral infection which may cause inflammation of the liver and jaundice.

”The virus is present in the poo of a person who is infected. The virus may be passed from person to person through close contact, especially if they have not washed their hands properly after going to the toilet.”

The NHS body went on to say that ‘close contacts’ within the school and immediate family are being offered the hepatitis A vaccination as a precautionary measure.

One concerned parent – who asked not to be named – said: “We had a letter and it was in an email as well. It is a massive shock.

"They are only issuing immunisation to some pupils. If you want to get the injection yourself, it can cost about £40."

Dr Graham Brown, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control at Public Health Wales, confirmed that detailed cleaning advice was provided to the school by environmental health officials from Denbighshire County Council.

Dr Brown added: "Public Health Wales is content that this advice has been acted upon and that the school premises have been cleaned effectively.

“If you haven’t been offered a vaccination, our current advice is that you don’t need one. We are working closely with Denbighshire County Council Environmental Health Officers to investigate the case and to offer advice to parents, school staff and pupils. There is no wider risk outside the school community.

“Hepatitis A is usually a short term infection that has very unpleasant symptoms but is rarely serious. Symptoms include flu-like symptoms like tiredness, general aches and pains, headaches and fever, as well as loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pains, jaundice, very dark urine and itchy skin.”

A statement, on behalf of the school, read: "The school has been following stringent guidelines from Public Health Wales and the Council’s environmental health team since this incident came to light. It arranged to clean all the facilities in the classroom, again in line with health and safety guidelines issued. 

“Parents and guardians were notified of this incident through letter and e-mail at the end of last week and a programme of immunisation took place yesterday morning for pupils in the classroom in question, on the advice of health officials. There were plenty of people on hand to answer any questions from parents and we hope this will help alleviate any concerns individual parents may have had.”

Those concerned about their health or their child’s health are advised to contact their own GP. 

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