Rumours have been flying around about as to which businesses and schools have been affected by Ripon's Hepatitis A outbreak.
Last week, it was confirmed that a food handler at So! Bar and Eats was among those affected, and now Wetherspoons has responded to rumours about its Ripon branch.
Their spokesperson, Eddie Gershon, told the 'Gazette that a member of Wetherspoons staff is currently off work due to the illness.
He said: “ We can confirm that a member of the Ripon Wetherspoons hotel team contracted hepatitis and is currently off work. The local authority has been informed, and we are in contact with them.
“The Environmental Health Officer is aware, and have stated that the pub and hotel can remain open as normal.”
Public Health England has confirmed that a total of 19 cases of Hepatitis A have now been connected with Outwood Academy, but reports of new cases connected to the school have slowed down during the past week.
As part of the ongoing investigations, four cases have also been confirmed in the wider community since June 19. The source of the illness for these cases remains under investigation, but Public Health has said that they do not appear to be linked to Outwood Academy, or have any other common links between them.
A food handler at So! Bar and Eats was confirmed as among those affected by Hepatitis A, prompting Public Health England to issue precautionary health advice.
While there are currently no cases identified among diners, as a precaution, Public Health England is asking anyone who ate food at So! Bar Ripon between June 8 and 23 to be aware of the symptoms of Hepatitis A, particularly jaundice (a condition which causes the skin and the whites of the eyes to turn yellow), which could indicate infection with Hepatitis A.
This advice relates specifically to the Ripon premises - other premises in the ‘So! Bar and Eats’ group are not affected.
Dr Simon Padfield, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control at PHE Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “Following ongoing laboratory testing, we can confirm that a total of 19 cases of Hepatitis A have been confirmed connected with Outwood Academy, Ripon. Reports of new cases of illness connected to the school have slowed down during the past week and this is encouraging.
“Environmental Health officers from Harrogate Borough Council have visited So! Bar and Eats in Ripon, and it’s important to stress that the risk of diners developing the infection has been assessed as low, but if they develop symptoms, they should contact their GP or NHS 111 for advice.
“People who have visited ‘So! Bar and Eats’ outside of these dates are not at increased risk and are urged not to contact GPs if they remain well. General information on Hepatitis A can be found at www.nhs.uk or by phoning NHS 111.
“I understand that the confirmation of further cases in the community may be of concern, but it’s important to remember that the risk remains low. NHS services are identifying cases of Hepatitis A and providing care promptly and those affected are recovering. Their household contacts are being followed up to reduce the risk of the infection spreading. Hepatitis A is usually a mild illness, though it can be more serious in adults. GPs in North Yorkshire remain vigilant to further cases.”