A Northeastern Student has been diagnosed with Hepatitis A and is now recovering. Hepatitis A is an infection caused by a virus that can be easily spread by close personal contact, by someone who has not washed their hands thoroughly after using a restroom or coming into contact with personal waste materials or by food and personal items that have been handled by someone who is infected. Hepatitis A (not to be confused with Hepatitis B or C) typically can cause symptoms ranging from a 2-3-week course of mild illness including:
- abdominal pain
- loss of appetite
- nausea and yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes
- dark-colored urine
In rare instances it can also lead to a months-long severe illness that may cause liver damage and require hospitalization. Hepatitis A symptoms may develop between two to six weeks after infection.
The student with Hepatitis A worked recently at Wollaston’s Market at 369 Huntington Avenue, Boston, where they handled some food items. Though the risk of infection related to this student is quite low, and out of an abundance of caution, the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) is advising any student who purchased food items from this Wollaston’s between March 4th and 23rd, and has subsequently experienced the symptoms listed about to come to UHCS or contact their primary care clinician. Northeastern is working directly with the BPHC to provide appropriate and timely public information.
The BPHC advises that it is very important for people who have symptoms of hepatitis A to stay home from school or work.
In order to minimize the risk of spread of Hepatitis A and many other infectious illnesses:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for twenty seconds after using a restroom, touching soiled items and before and after preparing food.
- Don’t eat raw or under cooked shellfish
- If you are going to travel where Hepatitis A is common or have other risk factors, get a Hepatitis A vaccine.