Three children ill after Hepatitis A outbreak in Cardiff

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An outbreak of hepatitis A in three children in Cardiff has prompted an investigation by Public Health Wales.

The three children attend three different schools within Cardiff, but no other cases have been reported at the schools.

Vaccination has been offered to about 20 ‘close contacts’ of the children, who may have an increased risk through playing and socialising with the youngsters.

Cardiff Council, the Vale of Glamorgan Council and the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board are working closely with Public Health Wales to control the outbreak.

A consultant in communicable disease control at Public Health Wales, Dr Gwen Lowe, said they are confident that all actions required to control the outbreak have been taken and the public is at low risk of contraction. She said they are continuing to work closely with environmental health offices in an investigation into the cases and to offer advice to pupils, school staff and parents.

Hepatitis A has unpleasant symptoms, is rarely serious and is a short-term infection.

The symptoms include those similar to flu symptoms, such as general pains and aches, fever, headaches, tiredness, along with nausea or vomiting, jaundice, itchy skin, loss of appetite, abdominal pains and very dark urine.

A vaccination session is due to be held in the Group Education room on the first floor of the Loudoun Building in Loudoun Square, Butetown, Cardiff, at 9.30 on Friday and only those who have invited need to attend.

The vaccine for Hepatitis A is not routinely offered by the NHS as it is a rare infection in the UK. There have only been 13 reported cases in Wales during 2012.

People preparing to travel to a country where the infection is most common, such as Africa, Central American, southern and northern Asia and eastern and southern Europe, should opt for the Hepatitis A vaccination, with any other travel immunisations their GP recommends.

Those who have concerns about their or their child’s health should contact their GP or NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47.

Image Credit: Víctor Santa María

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