A public health warning has been issued after authorities confirmed a case of hepatitis A had been detected in a regional Queensland city.
Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service (SCHHS) Public Health Unit confirmed on Monday they were managing a case of the viral infection in a person living in Gympie, north of Brisbane.
Hepatitis A, also known as infectious hepatitis, is an infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus.
It is spread from person to person by the faecal-oral route, including whether the faeces of an infectious person have contaminated something that is put into someone else’s mouth.
The person worked at the city’s RSL club, the SCHHS said in a statement.
“(We) are working closely with the RSL management and contacting all known persons exposed to the case while potentially infectious and who are at high risk of developing hepatitis A,” the statement reads.
In their statement, the SCHHS urged anyone who had been to the Gympie RSL since July to monitor their health and see their GP if they presented with symptoms of hepatitis A.
Symptoms include fever, generalised aches and pains, nausea, lack of appetite and abdominal discomfort, while acute hepatitis A infections include dark urine, jaundice and pale coloured bowel motions.
According to Queensland Health, the disease is more serious in adults than children where it occasionally presents as a serious, disabling disease lasting months.
“The time between when a person is exposed to the virus to when they may develop symptoms averages 4 weeks, with a range of 2 – 7 weeks,” the SCHHS said in a statement.
In exceptionally rare cases, it can cause liver failure and even death.
Methods to prevent the spread of the disease include:
- Good hygiene and high handwashing standards.
- Not presenting to work or childcare while sick
- Being vaccinated against hepatitis A.