Two cases of Hepatitis A amongst staff have been confirmed at a Ripon school, and Public Health England is following up other reported cases of illness that may or may not be related to this.
In a letter to parents yesterday, the headteacher of Outwood Academy on Clotherholme Road, gave reassurance and stressed the importance of staying off school if anyone displays symptoms of the illness.
In her letter, Gemma Trattles said: "Two cases of Hepatitis A have been confirmed recently in staff at the school, and Public Health England is currently following up other reported cases of illness that may or may not be related to this.
"This letter is just to make you aware at this stage, and when further information has been established we will write to you again with further advice about any other public health actions that may be necessary.
"Hepatitis A is a viral infection which affects the liver. It is most often seen in children and young adults and is a different disease from Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.
"Please be assured that any health risk is low; Hepatitis A does not usually cause serious illness. It is usually a mild illness in children, who often don't show any symptoms, though they can pass on the infection to others.
"The infection can, however, be more serious in adults and it's important we take the necessary steps to protect our children and staff members from this infection.
"If anyone in your family develops the symptoms in the coming 2-6 weeks, please contact your GP and inform the school. Anyone with suspected Hepatitis A infection should not attend school until their doctor advises return. This is usually for a period of one week."
Symptoms of Hepatitis A
The symptoms of Hepatitis A are similar to flu, including mild fever, joint and muscle pain, feeling and being sick, diarrhoea, loss of appetite and stomach pain. This can be followed by jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes), dark coloured urine, and itchy skin. Not everyone affected will have all these symptoms.
How is it spread?
The virus can spread easily within families and where people live closely together and can be passed from person to person by eating food or drinking water containing the virus. The virus is passed out in the faeces of an infected person and so it is very important to wash your hands after going to the toilet and/or preparing food.