Rhyl school assures parents over handling of Hepatitis A outbreak

Reporter:

Duncan Rieder

A school and Public Health Wales have hit back at criticism over cleaning and vaccination provisions after a case of hepatitis A in a pupil.

A vaccination session for around 150 children and about 30 adults took place at Ysgol Emmanuel, Rhyl, after the child and several family members were confirmed with the illness.

After the case was made public, some parents voiced concern that the school was not deep cleaned until the following weekend.

And one parent, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Journal a number were unhappy not all children had been vaccinated.

The parent said: “It’s being offered to nursery and ‘playdays’ classes only, but they all mix together throughout the whole school so everyone should have had their vaccinations.

“I’ve also been told that they’re not cleaning the classes till the weekend, but surely the school should of been deep cleaned Tuesday as soon as they found out.”

But a spokesman for Denbighshire County Council said: “The school still has its routine cleaning which is sufficient to address the vast majority of the infection risk. The deep clean is in addition to this.

“In order for the deep cleaning to been undertake,n the school needs to be empty and undertaking this task would not be possible after school closes in the evening and reopens the following day.

“This is only one aspect of controlling this infectious disease, another is the vaccination programme which is being undertaken at the school. In addition educating the children at school and at home regarding good hand hygiene, as this is the transmission route of the disease.”

A spokesman for Public Health Wales, added: “We are offering vaccination only to children in the same school year as the pupil confirmed with hepatitis A, siblings of those children and children attending a play club involving pupils from the same school year. We advised all parents of the arrangements.”

The Journal recently reported four cases of hepatitis A confirmed at Fun Days nursery on Seabank Road in Rhyl, leading to a vaccination session for 40 members of staff and children, and an outbreak is Ysgol Dewi Sant earlier in the year. However, there is no link between these outbreaks.

Hepatitis A vaccination are not routinely offered on the NHS, as the infection is rare in the UK, however there are now seven confirmed cases of the infection in this outbreak – all members of the same family.

Symptoms of the illness include tiredness, fever and joint pain.

The condition is not usually serious and most people make a full recovery within a couple of months although it can occasionally last for many months and, in rare cases, it can be life-threatening if it causes the liver to stop working properly.

This latest bout of hepatitis A is currently under investigation by Public Health Wales, with the aid of environmental health departments of Conwy and Denbighshire county councils.

Email:

duncan.rieder@nwn.co.uk

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