Monday, 2 May 2022

Hepatitis in Zagreb Causing Issues For Best Part of Two Months

May the 2nd, 2022 - Hepatitis in Zagreb has been causing quite a few issues for the best part of two months. The spread of the highly infectious Hepatitis A, a vaccine preventable liver virus caused by the Hepatitis A virus (HAV), has been taking place in multiple locations, with schools high on the list. The Hepatitis A virus is otherwise found in the stool and blood of infected individuals.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, There has been a sizeable outbreak of Hepatitis in Zagreb and it has been going on for around two months now. The largest number of patients at this moment in time are high school students, reports Jutarnji list.

"Since the beginning of March, we've recorded 57 cases of Hepatitis A, mostly among high school students. The causative agent is the Hepatitis A virus, which is transmitted by the feco-oral route, ie by ingesting contaminated water or food in the stool of an infected person or from hands contaminated with the stool of an infected person. The disease was reported among students from three schools in Zagreb and their household contacts.

The issue with Hepatitis in Zagreb is completely under control, and about 45 patients have already recovered. It's possible that in the end, the number of infected people will be higher because the incubation period for Hepatitis A is one month, in some cases even two months,'' said Branko Kolaric, the director of the ''Dr. Andrija Stampar'' Teaching Institute in Zagreb.

Although the schools received instructions regarding the spread of the virus that they passed on to both parents and children, Kolaric would like to appeal to everyone to maintain hand hygiene and to keep washing them regularly.

Hepatitis A or contagious jaundice is an acute contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus and is most commonly transmitted by unwashed hands, contaminated food or water, and after someone has been in close physical contact with an infected person, including through sexual activity. Incubation lasts 15-50 days, on average about a month. The affected person is contagious 14 days before the onset and seven days after the onset of symptoms.

Liver failure is a possibility if one contracts this virus

“The symptoms of acute Hepatitis A include fever, nausea, vomiting, jaundice, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, light coloured stool, and dark urine. Elevated bilirubin and transaminase levels are then confirmed by performing liver function tests. The disease is often asymptomatic or mild, especially in children under five years of age. However, the problems can really begin if the disease goes unrecognised, meaning it can progress and lead to liver failure,'' said Lorna Stemberger Maric, a pediatric infectologist from the Dr. Fran Mihaljevic Clinic for Infectious Diseases.

"Currently, we don't have any patients with Hepatitis in our department, but in the last month we've had several serious cases in high school and elementary school. Fortunately, all of our young patients have recovered so far. We've had individual cases of acute Hepatitis A in previous years, but I don't remember having such an epidemic that spread among children like this one has,'' added Lorna Stemberger Maric.

In the meantime, the principals of Zagreb's schools received instructions and handed out information leaflets to teachers, parents and students.

It was pointed out that a person can become infected if they eat food prepared by an infected person who didn't wash their hands properly or washed them in contaminated water.

One form of infection is when a person drinks contaminated water, including ice cubes. Furthermore, the consumption of raw or undercooked mussels from contaminated water, raw and uncooked and unwashed foods such as fruit, vegetables and sushi should be avoided.

Humanscan also become infected with Hepatitis A through close contact with a person who has the virus using a shared toilet and kitchen. Another way of contracting the disease is engaging in sexual intercourse with an infected person, and it is especially risky for a man to have sexual intercourse with another infected man. Another common way to contract a Hepatitis A infection is drug consumption using contaminated tools such as needles.

For more on the situation with Hepatitis in Zagreb as it unfolds, make sure to check out our news section.