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Hepatitis A contained at Christchurch preschool

MEDIA RELEASE

Friday, April 12, 2013

Hepatitis A contained at Christchurch preschool

Pupils, caregivers, parents and staff from Linwood Kindercare were provided with a Hepatitis A vaccine today (Friday) to prevent potential spread of the virus.

Dr Alistair Humphrey, Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, says the vaccination was provided after a child from the preschool was diagnosed with Hepatitis A.

The preschooler diagnosed with Hepatitis A belongs to a Christchurch family that has 12 confirmed Hepatitis A cases. There have been no cases reported in people outside this extended family.

“Hepatitis A is transmitted by the fecal-oral route, and good hand hygiene, particularly thorough hand washing, is key to preventing its spread. Preschools can be a high risk environment for the spread of Hepatitis A, particularly where there is nappy changing,” Dr Humphrey says.

“A hundred and 56 Hepatitis A vaccinations were provided at the preschool today, including every child who attends the preschool, relatives at risk, and staff.”

Dr Humphrey has congratulated the preschool and the parents involved for fully supporting the vaccination programme.

“This is an outstanding effort from the staff, parents and public health nurses. Everyone needing the Hepatitis A vaccine turned up for vaccination today and was quickly processed. The preschool should be commended for the way they have handled this situation. Their actions, and that of parents, have successfully contained Hepatitis A from spreading at the preschool,” Dr Humphrey says.

Linwood Kindercare centre director Lynette Katene says that the centre worked closely with CDHB Public Health Nurses and Community and Public Health to ensure all those eligible for a free vaccine got one.

“We’re delighted that our efforts have helped ensure that there has been no outbreak at Linwood Kindercare,” she says.

Lynette Katene says this experience is a reminder to preschools of the importance of having very high hand washing and hygiene standards.


ENDS

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