Hepatits A case confirmed in Lexington school

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- There is a confirmed case of Hepatitis A in a Lexington elementary school.
The health department and district leaders say one person at Millcreek Elementary has the infection, but they won’t identify that person’s role because of medical privacy rules.
While we don’t know if the patient is a student or employee, the health department did say the person wasn’t involved in food preparation so it’s likely a smaller group of people that was exposed.
The district said it did a deep clean overnight, which reassured some parents. During pick-up Wednesday, some were unfazed; others were worried.
“I was telling my husband. He was like, ‘Oh my god. Do we need to go get our kids? Do we need to keep them out of school until this is over? What do we do?’ because I mean, this is new to us,” Rebecca White, a parent at the school, said.
It’s new to Fayette County schools too. A spokeswoman says this is the first case in the district.
At the health department, Kevin Hall says vaccination is key.
“It is a safe vaccine and it’s one that’s highly effective,” Hall said.
Hepatitis A is a liver infection spread person to person or through eating or drinking something contaminated. Symptoms include loss of appetite, dark urine, fatigue, and sudden nausea and vomiting.
Hall says good hand-washing can help keep hep a from spreading. Teach your kids to wash for 30 seconds by singing ‘happy birthday’ or the ‘ABC’s’ twice.
“We don’t want people to a get panicked, but we also don’t want them to feel relaxed. If you have kids, call your doctor, call your medical provider and check your vaccination records,” Hall said.
Lexington has only seen three confirmed cases, but there’s been a Hepatitis A outbreak in the Louisville area.
Kentucky typically sees 20 cases a year, but since august there have been more than 400, and three deaths.
The district has arranged for students to be able to get the vaccine at a clinic at Tates Creek Elementary School about a mile from Millcreek, but Hall says many kids ten or younger are likely already vaccinated.
Next school year all students will have to get two doses of the vaccine under the state’s new immunization requirements.
Millcreek’s principal sent a letter to families about the case:

 

In an effort to maintain open lines of communication between home and school, here is an important message from Fayette County Public Schools.
May 1, 2018
Dear Families at The Academy for Leadership at Millcreek Elementary:
The safety and well-being of our students and staff is a top priority for us here at Millcreek and any time we deal with a health or safety issue at school, we want to be sure our families have accurate information directly from us as quickly as possible.
We have been made aware that a member of our school community has been diagnosed with hepatitis A. The individual is not involved with food handling. We are working closely with the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department to take all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of our students, staff and families. Toward that end, district operations staff will work overnight at Millcreek to do a deep cleaning of our school before students and staff return in the morning.
Hepatitis A is not an airborne disease, but it can be contagious. It affects the liver, and can cause symptoms such as abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, dark urine, and yellowing of the skin and eyes. Symptoms often last several weeks, however, long term infection does not occur.
Hepatitis A vaccination is the best way to prevent infection. Many children have already received this vaccination as part of their routine shots, but if your child has not received the hepatitis A vaccine, we encourage you to contact your family physician. We have also made arrangements for students to be able to get the hepatitis A vaccine at the Healthfirst Bluegrass clinic at Tates Creek Elementary School.
This is an excellent time to remind everyone that our state has adopted new immunization requirements. Beginning with the 2018-19 school year, ALL students in kindergarten through 12th grade must show proof of having received two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine.
The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department will be sending more information home with families in our school tomorrow. Students who have not turned in proof of hepatitis A vaccination and may have had contact with the infected person will receive additional recommendations.
Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. Working in partnership with the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department we will ensure you receive prompt and complete information.
Sincerely,
Greg Ross, Principal

 

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Superintendent Manny Caulk sent this note about the case:

Our thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery go out to the member of our Millcreek Elementary School community who was diagnosed with hepatitis A. We are working in close partnership with the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department to take every precaution to make sure that our students and staff are in a safe environment.

I want to thank our school employees and leaders who worked quickly to address the situation. Kudos are also in order for our operations staff who worked overnight to deep clean the Millcreek building as an added precaution. The health and safety of our students and staff is a top priority for us.

In addition to the communication we sent to families yesterday, the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department will be sending a letter home with students today.