On Wednesday the Ministry of Health informed the public of a localized outbreak of Hepatitis A in Benque Viejo del Carmen and Arenal Village in the Cayo District. Three cases were confirmed in Benque and eleven in Arenal Village. Lorna Perez Surveillance officer at the Ministry says the surveillance continues and the Ministry is currently implementing prevention measures in these areas.
Lorna Perez, Surveillance Officer, Ministry of Health: “If it’s contained within a school because of children and the way it is transmitted from person to person then I think we caught it on time for it to be contained in that particularly setting. So far we have not had any new cases reported and so the measures being taken right now is to ensure that we don’t have any new infections.”
Reporter: How are the patients that have been infected doing so far can you say?
Lorna Perez, Surveillance Officer, Ministry of Health: “Well it’s children, they tend to recover quite quickly and they are doing well but of course we have to keep them away from the rest of the students until they are fully recovered before they can be reintegrated into the classroom but the teachers, the schools they are very cooperative they know that they are supposed to be reporting any child presenting with symptoms but additionally as I said the Ministry of Health is visiting the schools and community- they are having educational sessions with parents and the community and the school to try to have the community informed in how best to prevent further infections.”
Reporter: So it has not really disrupted classes at this particular school?
Lorna Perez, Surveillance Officer, Ministry of Health: “No I as I said it’s a fairly small outbreak I would say. There are a few adults yes but the majority as I said are children but from two different schools. The biggest one I think was the one in Arenal Village. We know from February some persons were presenting with symptoms so as I said because of the way it is transmitted I think it becomes a problem in those settings like a school because of the way children interact with each other that is when the spready becomes much more easier. So at this point it’s working with those groups at risk in trying to minimize that exposure to them to contain the spread of the infection.”
The Ministry’s action plan includes the sensitization of school staff and students on the disease, its transmission, and risk factors; and the sensitization of food handlers in Benque Viejo Del Carmen and Arenal Village about Hepatitis A and the importance of following established protocols.