sealPurdue News

February 28, 2003

Purdue student diagnosed with hepatitis A, no longer contagious

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University officials implemented a variety of responsive measures after a student was diagnosed with hepatitis A, a flulike virus.

The student is no longer contagious, said Dr. Sarah Sayger, clinical director for the Purdue University Student Health Center. The Tippecanoe County Health Department and State Department of Health have been notified. Diagnosis was confirmed Thursday (2/27).

The Student Health Center, working in conjunction with the county health department and University Residences staff, is identifying individuals who had close contact with the student. They will be offered gamma globulin, which provides antibodies to protect against developing the disease post-exposure. Health information has been provided to students living in close proximity to the individual.

The infected student lives in Cary Quadrangle and does not have a roommate.

Additional sanitation precautions also have been taken, said Allyson Hodge, director of operations for University Residences.

The virus, which rarely is fatal, inflames the liver but does not cause permanent damage, Sayger said. The virus is most commonly spread through improper hygiene, and it also can be acquired through intimate contact or by eating improperly prepared shellfish and contaminated leafy green vegetables. Symptoms of this communicable disease are similar to the flu and can include jaundice, fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea and fever.

"Good personal hygiene and proper sanitation can help prevent hepatitis A," Sayger said. "People can prevent contracting the disease by washing hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper and before preparing or eating food. Individuals also should avoid drinking or eating directly after someone else."

A vaccine to prevent against future hepatitis A cases is available for any student at the Student Health Center. For more information, call (765) 494-1700.

Writer: Amy Patterson-Neubert, (765) 494-9723,

Sources: Allyson Hodge, (765) 494-1000,

Dr. Sarah Sayger, (765) 494-1720,

Related Web site:
Centers for Disease Control hepatitis fact page

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