The local South Korean community is being warned of hepatitis A cases in Canberra and Sydney as ACT Health struggles to find the cause of the outbreak.
The ACT Health Directorate is working with NSW Health to investigate a cluster of cases of hepatitis A in the South Korean community, with a total of eight cases in adults of South Korean heritage in the ACT and in Sydney since June.
Australia has a low incidence of hepatitis A and, when outbreaks occur, they are linked to consumption of contaminated food products or person-to-person spread.
However, at this stage of the investigation, no specific food has been connected to the outbreak.
South Korea is currently experiencing a large outbreak of hepatitis A, with over 11,000 cases reported so far this year but most of the eight local cases have also not reported recent overseas travel.
The ACT Health Directorate is reminding the South Korean community in Canberra and anyone travelling to South Korea, of the importance of vaccination prior to travel and practising good hand hygiene to reduce the risk of it spreading.
Two doses of vaccine prevents the infection, and at least one dose is strongly recommended prior to travel, especially where there is an ongoing outbreak.
Hepatitis A is caused by a virus that spreads in contaminated food or through poor hygiene. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, fever and yellowing of the skin, dark urine and pale stools.
NSW Health and the ACT Health Directorate will keep local communities updated if further public health advice is required.
For further information on hepatitis A, click here.