HEALTH officials vaccinated St Mary’s Primary pupils and staff on Friday to head off any potential spread of the Hepatitis A virus.

A total of 176 children - 92 per cent of the school - were vaccinated along with a majority of staff. Anyone who missed the immunisation has been advised to speak to their GP.

Parents at the Alexandria school were notified last Monday of what the NHS insists is a precautionary measure after one pupil fell ill from the gut virus, which attacks the liver.

Dr Gillian Penrice, consultant in public health medicine, told the Reporter it was an unusual case and that the source of the infection had not yet been determined.
Hepatitis A can have an incubation period of between two and six weeks, and some people can be carrying the virus without showing symptoms.

Read More: St Mary's Primary pupils and staff to get vaccination

Dr Penrice said: “This is quite an unusual case, to get Hepatitis A in a child like this.

“This is a gut virus: if someone has it and goes to the toilet and doesn’t wash their hands properly, then touches someone else or their food or mouth, they can pass that on.

“We wanted to inform parents in a non-alarming way, and also to stress the importance of hand hygiene.

“We made all GPs in West Dunbartonshire aware of the case and immunisation (programme) in case they see any cases.

Read More: Vaccine alert after St Mary's Primary pupil contracts Hepatitis A

“Generally the virus is self-limiting and we expect people to make a full recovery.”

There was an incident meeting on Friday before letters went to parents on Monday to notify them of the planned vaccinations.