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Dawson Creek Hepatitis A outbreak: UPDATED STORY
Updated information from Jan. 11
DAWSON CREEK – An outbreak of Hepatitis A has been declared in Dawson Creek, according to a Jan. 11 news release.
There are six confirmed cases in Dawson Creek, according to Dr. Sandra Allison, NH Chief Medical Officer, but the investigation is challenging to due the long time lapse between contraction and presentation of symptoms of the disease.
“It’s a challenging investigation for sure,” said Allison. “We’re continuing to investigate, we have not been able to determine whether it was a point source of food or if there was a sick food handler. We continue to investigate our varied hypothesis. … We have all of our partners at [BC Centre for Disease Control] BCCDC working on this with our public health inspectors and they continue to follow every lead they can, but it is challenging trying to get people to remember what they ate seven weeks ago for lunch.”
Allison told Northeast News that it is possible that the source of the outbreak may be a return traveller.
There have also been cases reported in Alberta, but it can not be confirmed if they are linked to the Dawson Creek outbreak.
“They haven’t linked back to the genotype we’ve seen here, but just given the close proximity we’re looking into if there is a link between them,” said Allison.
BCDC and NH are asking the public to take appropriate precautions.
These include getting vaccinated, and hand washing.
“Thorough hand washing after visits to the restroom, before touching food or drink, and after changing a baby’s diaper can assist in mitigating spread” the release states.
Also, those who are already sick are urged to stay home, and if experiencing symptoms of Hepatitis A to contact a doctor, call a local public health office, or call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1.
Hepatitis A is spread through fecal-oral contact.
Symptoms of Hepatitis A include loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting.
For information about Hepatitis A or vaccinations, see HealthLink BC’s Hepatitis A information page at http://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthfiles/hfile33.stm.