District fights Hepatitis A outbreak at Surrey school

SURREY – North Ridge Elementary School planned an immunization clinic Monday after parents were informed on Friday (March 13) that there had been an outbreak of the Hepatitis A virus at the school.

“Students and staff may have been exposed” to the virus, read a letter sent home to parents from Fraser Health.

Though students are on their spring break, the release called for parents to bring their children to the mass clinic, which was set up in the school’s gymnasium.

The district did not release how many of the roughly 350 students were affected.

Hepatitis A is a viral disease that attacks the liver. Symptoms usually include diarrhea, vomiting and yellowing of the skin.

It can be passed on by infected people who don’t wash their hands properly after using the bathroom, through handto-

mouth contact, food preparation and sharing.

Other ways to contract the virus are through sexual contact, sharing needles and pipes, drinking contaminated water or eating raw or undercooked shellfish that has been contaminated by sewage.

It is also easy for those who are infected but are not exhibiting symptoms to spread the virus to others.

While the risk of dying from Hepatitis A is higher for people over the age of 50, about one to three people die per every 1,000 cases of the virus.

Consent forms were also given out to parents to get their children vaccinated against Hepatitis A. A vaccine information sheet sent out by Fraser Health noted, however, that “children under the age of 19, who are able to understand the benefits and possible reactions for each vaccine and the risk of not getting immunized, can legally consent to or refuse immunizations.”

kalexandra@thenownewspaper.com

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