Hepatitis A outbreak spurs warning

Last updated 08:47 13/03/2014

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An outbreak of Hepatitis A in the Hutt Valley has spurred public health warnings to make sure vaccinations are up to date.

Six people from two families contracted the illness and had to be isolated, while a further 65 people - including an entire childcare centre - were given precautionary vaccinations.

Wellington Regional Public Health medical officer of health Dr Margot McLean said it was thought the disease had travelled back with the families from a Pacific Island about two weeks ago.

"We are hopeful that we have contained the spread now."

Hepatitis A was a disease of the liver that could be caught through eating contaminated food or drinking polluted water, and was a very common in developing countries.

It did not typically strike children as badly as adults, who could suffer vomiting, diarrhoea, nausea, jaundice, and in the worse cases end up in hospital.

All those who were travelling overseas should make sure they have the right immunisation against potentially deadly diseases such as Hepatitis A, Dr McLean said.

Measles was another vaccine that should be kept up to date, with four cases of measles in Wellington so far this year alone. Last year there were none.

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- The Dominion Post

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