An outbreak of Hepatitis A in the HSE South area (Cork region) is suspected to have been caused by fecal matter in a local swimming pool.
The Irish Medical Journal (IMJ) reported that last summer five people, including three children, became ill with the disease.
Hepatitis A, an acute infection of the liver, is extremely rare in Ireland, and is usually transmitted via the "fecal-oral" route.
Medics at the Public Health Office HSE South stated that the Cork outbreak could have been prevented if there had not been such a delay in reporting the illnesses, with one child who had been admitted to hospital for investigation of jaundice, anorexia and vomiting only reported to the HSE two weeks after for suspected Hepatitis A.
Medics said that the case “illustrates the public health consequences of delayed notification”.
“Timely notification would have facilitated prompt contact vaccination and may have prevented illness in subsequent contacts. Improved communication with clinicians and laboratory staff should improve the speed of notification in the future,” they said.
On investigation into the outbreak of the virus, the public health office found a link between all five people and a swimming pool in the area which had "sub-optimal" chlorine levels, potentially causing the swallowing of water that contained fecal matter.
Swimming pool management were notified, and a new system was put in place.