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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Concerns over rising hepatitis A cluster at Gold Coast school as vaccination blitz begins

The Gold Coast Public Health Unit is investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A at a local school.

Four children from Arundel State School have been confirmed with the disease, while the diagnosis of another child is awaited.

Hepatitis A is a viral infection that spreads when the feces of an infected person enters the mouth of another person, including food, water, hands, linen, or sexual intercourse.

It can become a serious disease in older children and adults.

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Gold Coast public health physician Vicki Slinko said the disease affected the liver.

“The virus is present in the intestine of an infected person, so the most important preventive measure is careful hand washing after going to the toilet and before preparing or eating food,” Slinko said.

The Gold Coast Public Health Unit (GCPHU) will offer vaccinations to students and their families and school staff.

A GCPHU spokesperson said the unit is actively investigating whether there were other cases in the community.

The principal of Arundel State School did not want to comment on the cluster, but posted a message to parents on the school’s Facebook page.

“Arundale State School community has confirmed cases of hepatitis A,” the post read.

“We ask our families to kindly read their emails for more information.

“The Gold Coast Public Health Unit is offering a free vaccination clinic at the school this coming weekend (June 11-June 12).”

The Department of Education has been contacted for comment.

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