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Hepatitis A outbreak hits Auckland

Posted by te2ataria on March 2, 2012

At least 19 cases of hepatitis A infection confirmed including schoolchildren

“At this time it is unknown how the disease was initially contracted. We are currently working with the cases to determine the source of the disease and prevent further spread,” said Auckland Regional Public Health Service spokesman.

In developing countries, and in regions with poor hygiene standards, the incidence of infection with this virus is high and the illness is usually contracted in early childhood.

“If a parent is concerned that their child may have been exposed to hepatitis A infection and they are unwell, we ask that they stay away from school, childcare centres and social events and contact their doctor. Hepatitis A is diagnosed by a blood test.”

Hepatitis A (formerly known as infectious hepatitis and epidemical virus) is an acute infectious disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus (Hep A).

Children infected with hepatitis A can develop jaundice; teenagers and adults can be more seriously affected by the virus.

The virus spreads by the fecal-oral route and infections often occur in conditions of poor sanitation and overcrowding. Hepatitis A can be transmitted by the parenteral route but very rarely by blood and blood products. Food-borne outbreaks are not uncommon,and ingestion of shellfish cultivated in polluted water is associated with a high risk of infection.

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