Ottawa Public Health investigating 'several' cases of hepatitis A

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Ottawa Public Health says it is investigating "several" cases of hepatitis A in Ottawa and that some students and staff at an east end elementary school may have been exposed. 

It's not clear how many cases there are or where it was first contracted. Hepatitis A is a highly infectious liver infection that often spreads through contaminated food and/or water.

OPH isn't releasing the names of the individuals affected. In a statement, it says "individuals affected by the response will be contacted" and offered treatment, which could include a dose of the hepatitis A vaccine.

On Tuesday, OPH sent a letter to parents of students at Maple Ridge Elementary explaining the possible exposure. Children and staff in affected classes, as well as family members and close household contacts, will be provided with the hepatitis A vaccine.

Symptoms of hepatitis A can take up to seven weeks to develop, but children often do not develop symptoms. According to the Mayo Clinic, they include:

  • Fatigue
  • Sudden nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort, especially on the upper right side beneath your lower ribs (by your liver)
  • Clay-colored bowel movements
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low-grade fever
  • Dark urine
  • Joint pain
  • Yellowing of the skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
  • Intense itching

If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact Ottawa Public Health by calling 613-580-6744 or emailing healthsante@ottawa.ca.

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