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Hepatitis A case reported at Steamboat Springs High School

Steamboat Springs High School
A student at Steamboat Springs High School was diagnosed with hepatitis A this week. The state and local health departments are investigating the case, but officials are not concerned about it sparking an outbreak.
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STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A student at Steamboat Springs High School tested positive for hepatitis A this week. 

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is working with Routt County Public Health to investigate the case after the student showed symptoms of the virus Wednesday, according to an email from the state health department. 

Nicole Comstock, the communicable disease deputy chief at the state health department, said the investigation is in the early stages. She is unsure how or where the student got the virus. Her department receives a notification every time a laboratory receives a positive test for hepatitis A. 

The student, who will remain unidentified, showed an onset of jaundice, or yellowing of the skin, on Wednesday, according to the email. The state health department recommended the student not attend school or participate in extracurricular activities until Wednesday, Dec. 25. 

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Steamboat Springs School District Superintendent Dr. Brad Meeks issued a statement to parents Friday regarding the incident. Meeks said he is not concerned the case will lead to an outbreak and is not aware of any other students in the district who have hepatitis A. 

Meeks added that the upcoming holiday break, which begins Monday, should help to avoid the spread of the virus. 

Those infected with hepatitis A transmit the virus through their feces and are most infectious two weeks prior to the onset of jaundice, according to Comstock. They remain contagious for a week after the onset of jaundice. 

The virus also can be transmitted through contaminated food, Comstock said.

While her department has been investigating an ongoing outbreak of hepatitis A in Colorado since 2018, primarily in the Front Range, Comstock does not believe there are any ties between the student’s case and that outbreak. 

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver that usually resolves itself in about two months, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Symptoms typically include fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea and jaundice. 

The best way to prevent hepatitis A is to get vaccinated, according to the CDC. 

To reach Derek Maiolo, call 970-871-4247, email dmaiolo@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @derek_maiolo.


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