After several confirmed cases, Ottawa Public Health is warning students, staff, and parents at a local elementary school regarding exposure to hepatitis A. On Wednesday, the Ottawa Carleton District School Board confirmed that some students at Maple Ridge Elementary School have been exposed to the virus. Vaccines are now being administered throughout the school in attempts to stop the spreading of this virus. 

Ottawa Public Health has confirmed that there have been several closely connected cases of hepatitis A in Ottawa.* Ottawa Citizen states that the number of confirmed cases and those have been exposed to the virus has not yet been specified.

After a letter was sent out to parents of the elementary school on Tuesday to warn them that they may have been exposed to the virus, the school is now administrating vaccines to those children and staff who were in potentially exposed classrooms.

According to CBC Newsthose who have been exposed to the virus have been contacted and there is no risk to anybody who is not in close proximity to the case. Ottawa Public Health program manager Pam Oickle states that this infection has been contained and should not cause worry for the public. 

According to Ottawa Public Health, Hepatitis A is a contagious virus that can affect your liver. While the virus is usually a mild illness that lasts a few weeks, it can also become a severe illness that could last months and can even cause liver failure. 

There is no medication to treat hepatitis A once someone has started showing symptoms for the virus, but there is a vaccine that can prevent symptoms if given before the victim that has been exposed for no more than two weeks.

Hepatitis A is most commonly spread from person to person after contact with infected feces. This means that contaminated food handlers and unclean hands can both be common ways to be exposed to the virus. 

The virus can also spread through sexual contact and can be present in food such as raw shellfish or raw fruits and vegetables. 

Symptoms of hepatitis A can develop between fifteen and fifty days after exposure and can include fatigue, jaundice, abdominal pain, vomiting and, fever. 

If you start to show symptoms of hepatitis A you are asked to visit a doctor to get tested. 

*Editor's Note: This article has been updated. 

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