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AILING TEACHER POSES LITTLE RISK, DISTRICT SAYS

Granite School District and Salt Lake City-County Health officials believe a teacher who contracted hepatitis A posed little risk to students at Harry S Truman Elementary, 4639 S. 3200 West.

Salt Lake City-County Health Department spokeswoman Jana Carlson said it's unlikely the teacher spread the disease because she was not in contact with anyone at the school during the time she became symptomatic.According to Carlson, a person can communicate the disease both for two weeks before and then during the time that symptoms are exhibited.

Granite spokesman Kent Gardner said the resource teacher was diagnosed with the contagious disease during spring break and has not returned to school since then. None of the students or other faculty at Truman has exhibited any symptoms, he added.

Nevertheless, school officials have sent notices to parents of Truman students advising them of the teacher's illness and advising them to have their children take normal precautions - such as frequent handwashing - when handling food.

The teacher suspects she contracted the disease from a local restaurant sometime in late March. The Salt Lake area experienced an outbreak of hepatitis A earlier this year, with many of the cases traced to one restaurant.

Utah usually has about 500 cases of hepatitis A per year, according to Carlson. Because of the outbreak, 309 have been tallied so far this year.

"We're only four months into the year and we're already at 60 percent" for the typical year's total, she said.

Based on the health department's assurances, Gardner said district officials will take no further action in the matter unless cases are detected. He said officials are not recommending any medical intervention for any of the students or faculty at this point.