Eight cases of hepatitis A have been reported in Sussex, Public Health England (PHE) has confirmed.

Five of the cases were spotted in school children.

PHE has offered vaccinations to students and teachers at City Academy Whitehawk, Brighton, and pupils have been advised to avoid sharing drinks, in a bid to stop the spread.

The public are being advised to take extra care with hand hygiene, especially after using the toilet, changing nappies or before preparing food.

City Academy Whitehawk’s Head of School, Mark Church, said: “We understand that news of illness among children is always a worrying time for families which is why we are working closely with PHE and Brighton & Hove City Council, NHS Brighton & Hove CCG and NHS England to ensure we can do everything possible to help prevent further cases.”

Hepatitis A symptoms: Signs you need vaccine after poo virus spotted in UK

PHE South East’s Consultant in Health Protection, Dr Margot Nicholls, added: “Hepatitis A is usually a mild illness for children and the vaccinations at the school are a preventative measure to help prevent transmission and protect the local community from further cases.

“Since hepatitis A was confirmed in the local area we have worked closely with City Academy Whitehawk to ensure the health and wellbeing of pupils and staff.

“Together we have tried to ensure that parents are fully informed and made aware of symptoms of the virus as well as steps to take if they suspect they or their child may have hepatitis A.”

Hepatitis A symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and a high fever.

hepatitis a symptoms outbreak vaccine signs uk phe

Hepatitis A symptoms: Signs you need vaccine after poo virus spotted in UK

It could also lead to extreme tiredness, loss of appetite, jaundice (yellow of the skin), and a general feeling of being unwell.

Symptoms are usually worse in adults, and young children may not show any signs at all.

The virus can be spread among individuals, but they usually have to be within very close contact.

You can get the infection from eating food prepared by someone with the infection, drinking contaminated water, or eating raw shellfish. 

Hepatitis A patients are most infectious from around two weeks before their symptoms first develop, until about a week after the symptoms first develop.

hepatitis a symptoms outbreak vaccine signs uk phe

Hepatitis A symptoms: Children and teachers were offered Hepatitis A vaccines

hepatitis a symptoms outbreak vaccine signs uk phe

Hepatitis A symptoms: Virus can be spread in to poo of infected patients

The virus isn’t usually a serious illness, but on rare occasions it can cause the liver to stop working altogether.

Liver failure symptoms include sudden vomiting, a tendency to bruise and bleed easily, and memory loss.

You should see a GP immediately if you think you may have liver failure.

The condition can be life-threatening if it isn’t treated immediately.

You should also see a doctor if you think you have hepatitis A, may have been exposed to hepatitis A, or if you think you need the vaccine.

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