Hepatitis A cluster confirmed at Gold Coast state school
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At least four children at a Gold Coast State School have contracted hepatitis A prompting a free vaccination clinic for students, their families and staff.
The Gold Coast Public Health Unit is currently investigating whether there are other cases of hepatitis A in the community.
Hepatitis A is an acute infection that causes inflammation (swelling) of the liver. In most cases it does not lead to long-term liver disease.
Symptoms typically last for one to three weeks and can include:
- weakness and fatigue
- loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting
- joint aches or pains (especially in liver)
- jaundice (yellowing of skin and eyes)
- dark urine (wee) and light faeces.
Some people, especially young children who are exposed to hepatitis A may have no symptoms at all.
People can get hepatitis A when faeces (poo) that is infected with hepatitis A comes in contact with their mouth. The ways this might happen include:
- eating food prepared by someone with hepatitis A who hasn’t washed their hands
- drinking water that might be contaminated by faeces or sewage
- having anal-oral sex
- cleaning up nappies, towels and linen of a person that has hepatitis A and not washing your hands.
Most people won’t need treatment (medication) for hepatitis A. The immune system will activate and develop antibodies that fight off the virus, curing it from the body. These antibodies then provide a lifelong immunity.
The best way to prevent hepatitis A is to be vaccinated and practice good hygiene. This includes washing your hands with soap and water:
- after going to the toilet
- before eating or handling food
- after handling soiled objects such as nappies and condoms.
If you are experiencing symptoms or think you have come into contact with hepatitis A talk to your doctor.
Find out more in our hepatitis A factsheet.