British Columbia

Hepatitis A outbreak in Dawson Creek, B.C.

Northern Health's chief medical officer Sandra Allison said there have been five confirmed cases.

Five confirmed cases, says Northern Health

Five people in Dawson Creek, B.C. have been diagnosed with hepatitis A. (Valentin Flauraud/Reuters)

Health authorities are monitoring a Hepatitis A outbreak in Dawson Creek, B.C. and trying to identify the source of the viral infection. 

Northern Health's chief medical officer Sandra Allison said there have been five confirmed cases. 

"It is appearing to us that it's not just a sporadic case related to travel, which is what we usually see but possibly related to an exposure that happened in the community," she told CBC. 

Dr. Allison said the health teams are trying to identify where the infected people have been and eaten in the past seven weeks after exposure, as the virus has a long incubation period. 

Hepatitis A is an infection of the liver spread through fecal-oral contact. 

The virus is ingested by mouth from fecal-contaminated food or drink or through close personal contact with an infected person.

Symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, dark urine, clay-coloured bowel movements, joint pain and jaundice. They can last for several weeks but usually not beyond two months. 

A vaccine is available for Hepatitis A, although it is not a routine vaccine. 

Health authorities say the key for the public is hand washing, especially after visits to the restroom, before touching food or drink, and after changing a baby's diaper.


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