December 14, 2017

Employee at Passaic Schools in New Jersey Has Hepatitis A

A high school cafeteria employee in the Passaic, New Jersey schools has been diagnosed with hepatitis A, according to a letter sent to parents by the Passaic New Jersey Superintendent of Schools. Anyone who bought food from the Passaic High School teacher’s cafeteria between January 15 and January 30, 2015 may have been exposed to the virus.┬áThe High School has been thoroughly cleaned to disinfect the building.

Hepatitis A virusHepatitis A is a virus that causes injury to the liver. The virus is shed in the feces of the infected person. When a person with the virus doesn’t wash their hands after using the bathroom, the feces and virus can get into food or drink they have prepared. When someone else eats or drinks those products, they can get sick; this is called the “fecal-oral” transmission. Direct contact with an infected person can also pass the virus.

Anyone who purchased food at the high school, or anyone who was at the high school between January 15 and January 30, 2015 should be monitored for the symptoms of the illness. The symptoms of a hepatitis A infection include fever, fatigue, poor appetite, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark colored ruing, clay-colored pale stools, and jaundice,which is yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes. Young children may not have any symptoms at all, but can be carriers of the virus.

A hepatitis A or immune globulin vaccination can be given within two weeks of exposure. It’s too late for most people. But if you were only at the school or ate at the school on January 29 and/or 30, the time frame for a vaccination is still open. Call your doctor to inquire about a vaccination.

There are no specific treatments for this illness. most people recover within a few weeks or a few months, but anyone with a liver disease or chronic health condition may become seriously ill. More than 20% of adults with hepatitis A must be hospitalized for inflammation and swelling of the liver, which can cause permanent damage.

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