A Ripon school has been issued advice on deep-cleaning and 'enhanced hand washing' following the findings of a Public Health England investigation into its Hepatitis A outbreak.
The statutory body has confirmed that there has been a total of 17 cases of the illness connected to Outwood Academy on Clotherholme Road, and their investigations to date suggest that it may have been passed through food eaten at the school canteen.
Dr Simon Padfield, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control at PHE Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “Following ongoing laboratory testing, we can confirm that a total of 17 cases of Hepatitis A have been confirmed connected with Outwood Academy, Ripon.
“Investigations remain ongoing with our partners, but our findings to date suggest that Hepatitis A infection may have been passed through food eaten at the school canteen. The school has been advised on measures to reduce any further risk, including enhanced deep-cleaning, enhanced hand washing and as an additional precaution, the school has stopped serving cold food for this week."
Dr Padfield said Public Health England is also investigating an additional three cases of Hepatitis A confirmed in the Ripon area.
He said the source of illness for these cases remains under investigation, and it is not yet known if they are linked to the outbreak connected with the school.
He said: “Any health risk continues to be low. Those affected are being treated and are recovering. Hepatitis A is usually a mild illness, though it can be more serious in adults, if left untreated.
“Those affected began to experience symptoms between 11 and 20 June. Reports of new cases of illness are now beginning to show signs of slowing down, although laboratory testing of further possible cases continues and so additional cases may be confirmed in the following weeks.
“GPs in North Yorkshire have been asked to remain vigilant to further cases. Families and staff at the school have been updated on our investigations and the measures put in place and have been asked to follow strict hand hygiene measures to prevent any person to person spread. The school continues to cooperate fully in supporting our investigations.”