January 11, 2016 4:16 pm

Hepatitis A outbreak declared in Dawson Creek, B.C.

FILE PHOTO: Hepatitis-A vaccination.

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A Hepatitis A outbreak has been declared today by Northern Health and the BC Centre for Disease Control in Dawson Creek, B.C.

The decision to declare an outbreak came after Northern Health saw an increase in Hepatitis A cases in the northeastern B.C. city. The health authority is still investigating the source of the Hepatitis A and is asking people to take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread.

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Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver, which is 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.

Hand washing is the first line of defense and if you are sick, to stay home. If you experience the symptoms of Hepatitis A, contact your family doctor, contact HealthLink BC (811) or call your local public health office.

Symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, dark urine, clay-coloured bowel movements, joint pain and jaundice. The symptoms can last for several weeks and normally do not last more than two months.

There is a vaccination available for Hepatitis A. More information about the vaccination and virus can be found on HealthLink BC’s web site.

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