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May 4, 2018

Hepatitis A Watch in the West

The Ministry of Health is monitoring growing cases of Hepatitis ‘A’ in the west. It is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the Hepatitis virus. According to the ministry’s Facebook page, they first recorded the cases among school children in Benque Viejo Town and Arenal Village, but now there are confirmed cases of adults with the disease in the community. According to the ministry, staff from the Western Health Region is in Benque Viejo monitoring the situation in Arenal.  At present, there are three confirmed cases in Benque and eleven suspected cases in Arenal.  While there is no specific treatment for this viral disease, the best way to reduce the spread is by practicing proper hand hygiene. Wash hands as often as possible with soap and clean running water. Signs and symptoms of Hepatitis ‘A’ include yellow eyes and skin, tiredness and dark urine. The Ministry of Health says that its plan of action entails sensitization of school staff and students about the condition, its transmission and risk factors. In addition, food handlers in Benque and Arenal are also being sensitized on Hepatitis A. The ministry says, “the relevant departments in health have been aware and are working closely with the region to minimize ongoing cases including a sensitization session on the local radio station in Benque.”

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