470 schoolchildren vaccinated following outbreak of Hepatitis A

Colegio de Infantil y Primaria Antonio Sequeros in Benejúzar
Colegio de Infantil y Primaria Antonio Sequeros in Benejúzar

Orihuela’s Department of Health is to carry out a massive vaccination at el Colegio de Infantil y Primaria Antonio Sequeros in Benejúzar after at least six children and a teacher have been affected by an outbreak of hepatitis A at the school.

This follows the discovery of a case found at the Institute of Secondary Education of Benejúzar, although this would seem to be the only instance so the authorities say that there is no need to carry out further vaccinations at the college.

The Department of Health says that they want to reassure parents that hepatitis A is a common disease in schoolchildren, with several cases detected in the municipality every year, and only very rarely are any of those cases considered to be serious.

It is a disease of the liver caused by a virus. Its symptoms are similar to those of the flu, with fever, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal discomfort, dark urine or jaundice (yellow skin and eyes). However, most patients recover in 4-8 weeks.

Children between 3 and 5 years of age were vaccinated some weeks ago. The vaccination of the 143 students, plus the teaching staff, took place between January 10 and 15. As the first cases of the disease were found in infants it was considered that these should be treated first.

A hundred primary school students received the vaccine late last week while Public Health dealt deal with children from 6 to 8 years of age on Tuesday 5 February with the rest of the Primary Education students, from 9 to 12 years of age, being scheduled for Friday 8 February.

In addition, in coordination with the Health Department of Orihuela, a deep clean of the school was carried out at the CEIP Antonio Sequeros. According to the mayor, Antonio Bernabé, “A thorough cleaning was carried out in the areas most susceptible to being sources of infection, such as toilets,”

The first of the cases was detected following the Christmas holidays so the Ministry of Health, in conjunction with the town hall and the school management decided to vaccinate the entire school.

The town hall then arranged a meeting with the entire Benejúzar educational community in the auditorium, at which everyone was informed of the steps that were to be followed by Public Health.

The hepatitis A virus, HAV, is transmitted primarily through the faecal-oral route, either by direct contact from person to person or by ingestion of contaminated water or food, especially raw or undercooked molluscs and crustaceans.


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