Hepatitis A Cases Linked To Airdrie Bakery Increase To 61

19 May 2017, 19:20

Doctor Generic

The number of confirmed cases of hepatitis A in an outbreak linked to a bakery has risen to 61.

Health officials are advising people in Lanarkshire to look out for the symptoms of the infection as the illness can have an incubation period of several weeks.

JB Christie bakery in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, closed temporarily at the end of April after public health officials identified several people who had bought products at its outlets in the town and in nearby Coatbridge had fallen ill.

The bakery was given the all clear to resume trading on Tuesday May 2 after carrying out ''additional control measures'' and disposing of all fresh ingredients and any food stuffs which could transmit infection.

However NHS Lanarkshire said that as a precautionary measure, anyone who ate bakery products which were produced by JB Christie between Monday March 20 and Thursday April 13 and who experiences a flu-like illness, loss of appetite, nausea, fever, abdominal pains or jaundice should contact their GP.

Hepatitis A is a viral infection which leads to inflammation of the liver and can cause mild to severe illness.

Dr Femi Oshin, NHS Lanarkshire consultant in public health medicine, said: "Some people who have become infected with hepatitis A can feel well and have no symptoms for several weeks prior to developing symptoms and becoming unwell. However, during this time they can be infectious to others.

"Others - especially younger children and babies - may become infected and not develop any symptoms, yet may be infectious to others for several weeks.

"This is why we are continuing to raise awareness of the infection to help us identify other possible cases so that treatment can be provided if appropriate and to prevent further spread of the infection.''

The infection clears with time and usually there are no long-term effects, although a very small proportion of people could develop serious complications.

One of the best ways to prevent the spread of the hepatitis A infection is good hand hygiene, thorough hand washing and drying, particularly after visiting the toilet and before preparing or eating food.

The time between a person becoming infected and when they start to feel unwell (the incubation period) is usually about 28 days but may be as short as 15 days and as long as 50 days.

The health board advised anyone who experiences symptoms to contact their GP or NHS 24 if out of hours.

People can also call a freephone information line on 0800 028 2816.