Published Date: 2012-09-08 19:30:35
Subject: PRO/EDR> Hepatitis A - Philippines: (Aguio), food-borne
Archive Number: 20120908.1286649
HEPATITIS A - PHILIPPINES: (AGUIO), FOOD-BORNE
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Fri 7 Sep 2012
Source: Sun Star Baguio [edited]
Health department declares Hepatitis A outbreak
A sudden surge of hepatitis A cases were reported in a town in the farthest province of the region, the Department of Health (DOH)-Cordillera reported. DOH medical officer Dr. Amelita Pangilinan said the Regional Epidemiological Surveillance Unit reported a rapid increase of viral hepatitis in Cabugao, Apayao from 22 Jun to 3 Sep 2012.
Some 29 cases of hepatitis A were reported last month [August 2012] due to improper food handling in a carinderia (food stall) that resulted in a positive viral contamination of specimens taken from affected persons. Some 17 of the suspected cases of hepatitis A were also confirmed to be positive for the viral disease after laboratory tests. This prompted the DOH, together with the Rural Health Unit (RHU) of Cabugao, to close down operations of the food stall as 2 of its food handlers tested positive in a hepatitis A screening survey. Pangilinan said some of those who were affected are students and faculty of Lourdes High School in Cabugao Poblacion who frequent the carinderia. She said the mode of transmission of the hepatitis A virus is through the fecal-oral route as viral hepatitis remains a food and water borne disease.
To address the spread of the viral disease, the RHU conducted information campaigns on food and waterborne diseases, basic sanitation, waste management and proper hand washing in nearby schools and villages. The RHU also conducted inspection of food handler's certificates, trainings and classes on food safety, and proper handling and provided medicines including hyposol, oresol and paracetamol.
A Hepatitis A mass screening with use of testing kits were also conducted by the Provincial Health Office and the RHU emphasizing the need for surveillance data and investigation.
[Byline: JM Agreda]
ProMED-mail fromHealthMap alerts
[The City of Baguio is a highly urbanized city located in the province of Benguet in northern Luzon island of the Philippines. The city has become the center of business and commerce as well as the center of education in the entire Northern Luzon thereby becoming the seat of government of the Cordillera Administrative Region. According to the 2007 census, Baguio City has a population of 301 926. The interactive HealthMap of Northern Luzon can be accessed at: http://healthmap.org/r/3mqr.
Hepatitis A virus is transmitted primarily by the faecal-oral route. This is when an uninfected person ingests food or water that has been contaminated with the faeces of an infected person. Waterborne outbreaks, though infrequent, are usually associated with sewage-contaminated or inadequately treated water. The virus can also be transmitted through close physical contact with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.
The incubation period of hepatitis A is usually 14-28 days. Symptoms of hepatitis A range from mild to severe, and can include fever, malaise, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, nausea, abdominal discomfort, dark-coloured urine and jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes). Not everyone who is infected will have all of the symptoms.
There is no specific treatment for hepatitis A. Recovery from symptoms following infection may be slow and take several weeks or months. Therapy is aimed at maintaining comfort and adequate nutritional balance, including replacement of fluids that are lost from vomiting and diarrhoea.
Hepatitis A is a vaccine preventable disease. Vaccination against hepatitis A should be part of a comprehensive plan for the prevention and control of viral hepatitis. Planning for large-scale immunization programmes should involve careful economic evaluations and consider alternative or additional prevention methods, such as improved sanitation, and health education for improved hygiene practices. Improved sanitation, food safety and immunization are the most effective ways to combat hepatitis A. [for more detailed information, see: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs328/en/index.html]. - Mod.CP]