Glasgow & West Scotland

Primary school pupils to be vaccinated against Hepatitis A

St Mary's primary school, Alexandria Image copyright Google
Image caption Pupils and staff at St Mary's primary school in Alexandria will be vaccinated on Friday

Nearly 200 pupils and staff at a West Dunbartonshire primary school are to be vaccinated against Hepatitis A after a child contracted the illness.

Parents of pupils at St Mary's primary in Alexandria have been notified but the source of the infection is unknown.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said it was a precautionary measure and the likelihood of children becoming unwell due to the infection was low.

Symptoms include fever, abdominal pain, loss of appetite and nausea.

Hepatitis A can also sometimes lead to yellowing of the skin and eyes - jaundice - due to inflammation of the liver.

Public health consultant Dr Gillian Penrice said: "In children, the infection is often very mild and may cause no symptoms at all.

"This means that children can be carrying Hepatitis A and pass it on to adults, who are more at risk of complications.

"Infection with Hepatitis A can be caused by consuming contaminated food or water.

"The virus can also spread from someone with the infection to others in the same environment, for example if they share toilets, or by eating food touched by a person with the infection."

Vaccination recommended

The vaccination programme follows a review by the NHSGGC public health team, together with Health Protection Scotland and West Dunbartonshire Council.

Dr Penrice added: "Our investigations have not identified a suspected source of the infection.

"Therefore, as a precaution, we are recommending a Hepatitis A vaccination for all primary school children who attend.

"The vaccine reduces the risk of being infected after being in contact with someone who has the infection."

A Q&A drop-in session has been organised at the school for Tuesday, from 15:00 to 16:00, and a vaccination session will take place in on Friday.

Anyone who develops any symptoms is asked to contact their GP or, if it is out-of-hours, call NHS 24 on 111.

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