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SASTM Newsflash - Hepatitis A - Colombia


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SASTM Newsflash




The Health Agency of the municipality of La Plata have declared an alert following an outbreak of hepatitis A affecting both urban and rural areas of the municipality. According to Zulkerine Ramirez, Coordinator of Public Health for La Plata, in total, 42 cases have been detected, most of them children but also some adults. Ten of these cases have been confirmed positive for hepatitis A virus infection, a worrying figure given that the affected individuals belonged to communities in relatively well separated neighbourhoods. "Those affected include 2 people of the same family as well as others scattered through different districts of the city and in some adjacent villages," said the Public Health Coordinator.


Hepatitis A is an infectious disease caused by a virus, hepatitis A virus, that takes its name from the disease and is caused by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with feces, generating a inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis A virus can be spread by contact with people who carry the virus and is most frequently observed in children. Consequently, it is unusual for schools and similar educational institutions to escape infection.


The symptoms of the disease are similar to those of a normal flu, with fever and abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and yellowing of the eyes and skin.


The Social Development Secretariat of the township La Plata initiated educational campaigns in different communities in order to prevent uncontrolled spread of the disease. Good hygiene habits have been stressed, such as proper hand washing, washing of food, and avoiding drinking water from contaminated water sources.


Communicated by: ProMED-mail


La Plata is a town and municipality in the Huila Department of Colombia with a population of 57 381 inhabitants, including the rural area, at an altitude of 1050 meters.



Hepatitis A virus infection is a vaccine-preventable disease. However, in most situations, the transmission of hepatitis A virus can be prevented effectively by provision of clean drinking water together with efficient arrangements for disposal of sewage. In Huila, it is likely that the latter procedures will be the most cost-effective. The pattern of infection in this outbreak suggests water-borne infection by contamination of the local water distribution system rather than a single source of infection





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The content and opinions are neither pre-screened nor endorsed by the SASTM. The content should neither be interpreted nor quoted as inherently accurate or authoritative.

The information provided in SASTM Newsflashes is collected from various news sources, health agencies and government agencies. Although the information is believed to be accurate, any express or implied warranty as to its suitability for any purpose is categorically disclaimed. In particular, this information should not be construed to serve as medical advice for any individual. The health information provided is general in nature, and may not be appropriate for all persons. Medical advice may vary because of individual differences in such factors as health risks, current medical conditions and treatment, allergies, pregnancy and breast feeding, etc. In addition, global health risks are constantly evolving and changing. International travelers should consult a qualified physician for medical advice prior to departure.

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