|Dec.17 - Thirty-six people in a school in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region have been confirmed to have hepatitis A and 27 others are suspected of coming down with the disease, said local health authorities Saturday.
One hundred and eleven students and a canteen worker in Fengshan Town No. 2 Middle School in Bobai County have been identified as carriers of hepatitis A, said Gong Jian, head of the regional center for disease control and prevention.
According to Bobai health bureau, all the patients and suspected ones have been sent to local hospitals and are in stable condition.
Li Yufeng, a doctor with the Bobai County People's Hospital, said the situation is under control.
However, doctors warn that the number of infected could rise as the incubation period of the virus lasts 15 to 30 days.
The other infected students now have lessons in separate classrooms, while uninfected students have been required to remain on campus over the weekend for further observation to avoid possible spread, officials said.
All the 1,438 students and staffers at the school have been inoculated to contain the spread of the disease, said Xu Zhangneng, director of the county health bureau.
Initial investigation shows contaminated drinking water is the main cause of the outbreak. Gong said the first case was found on November 23 and the outbreak spread on December 6.
A well in the junior middle school, the main supply of drinking water for students, was contaminated possibly by a drainage ditch only five meters away, according to Gong.
Students also washed faces and rinsed mouths with water channeled from nearby mountain springs.
Tests have found that colon bacillus in water from the well and the springs were above the set standard, according to Gong.
Besides, the accommodation condition of students is rather poor with normally 20 students sharing one dormitory. The school's canteen was in operation without the health certificate.
Local health authorities have sterilized toilets, canteen, dormitories and classroom to stop further infection.
In August, an outbreak of hepatitis A knocked down 69 high school students in the same region.
Hepatitis, or inflammation of the liver, is caused by infectious or toxic agents and characterized by jaundice, fever, liver enlargement, and abdominal pain.
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