Hepatitis A Cases Continue To Rise In Wales

11 Cases Confirmed And Two Schools Affected

26.05.2016

Oliver Wicks, Press Officer | 0114 274 4649

An in-depth and reactive investigation ‘must remain the number one priority’ according to leading public health lawyers at Irwin Mitchell after two new cases of hepatitis A have been confirmed, following an outbreak at a school in Caerphilly county.

 

In April four cases of the viral infection were identified at the Glyn-Gaer Primary School, in Gelligaer, Wales.

 

This number has now risen to 11 in the last week with further confirmed cases, the latest being a pupil at a different school, Ysgol Rhydywaun in Penywaun, Rhondda Cynon Taff.

 

More than 200 pupils and 50 staff at risk have been vaccinated as a precaution and an investigation has been launched by Public Health Wales with support from Aneurin Bevan University Health Board and Caerphilly council.

 

Heather Lewis, from Public Health Wales, said: "We are confident that to date, all the public health actions needed to control this outbreak have been taken and that the risk to the public remains low. However, due to the very long incubation period of hepatitis A we may see more cases."

 

Hepatitis A can include flu-like symptoms such as tiredness, general aches and pains, headaches and fever, as well as loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, abdominal pains, jaundice, very dark urine and itchy skin.

 

Clare Comiskey an expert public health lawyer at Irwin Mitchell specialises in helping victims of illness in the UK and abroad and has revealed her concerns at the growing number of people affected.

Expert Opinion
“We are all too aware of the unpleasant and potentially harmful effects of hepatitis A and it is crucial that everything is done to prevent such a contagious infection spreading.

“It’s positive to see that Public Health Wales launched an investigation immediately but with further cases being confirmed their number one priority must be to take every possible step to stop the virus spreading further.

“A full investigation should play a huge role in determining how these problems emerged in the first place and also provide answers as to how similar issues could be prevented in the future.

“When children are involved, it is only natural to be worried about an outbreak of this kind and the best way to control such incidents is by responding quickly and decisively to any new cases.”
Clare Comiskey, Associate