An Investigation of Risk Factors in a Hepatitis A Outbreak in a College in Tamshui

D.Y. Chao

1997 Vol.13 NO.4

Correspondence Author:


A suspected hepatitis A outbreak in a junior college in Tamshui was reported on 27 May 1995. To understand the situation and to identify both the sources and mode of infection for the control of the outbreak, a team was sent to the college for investigation on 29 May. The first case of hepatitis A occurred on 14 March. The number of cases had increased by the end of April. The junior college has both the five-year and the two-year programs with 5,000 students in the day classes and 1,000 in the night classes. Junior students of the five-year program usually stay in dormitories: whereas senior students of the five-year programs and students of the two-year program stay in rented rooms off campus. There is a cafeteria in the college supplying three meals to students by 19 cooks. Tap water is used for cooking, and underground water for washing. Initial interview with the health care staff of the college and visits to the rented rooms of the students showed that there was a significant under-reporting of cases; and that most cases were senior students and no cases were found among the junior students. Most junior students had their meals in school: whereas, most senior students ate outside. None of the cases went abroad, visited mountain areas, or attended wedding parties or any large scale garden parties during this period. Therefore, a common community-oriented source of infection was suspected and an epidemiological investigation was carried out soon.