PUPILS and staff at a Brighton school are being offered vaccinations against hepatitis A after eight cases were confirmed.

Five children at the City Academy Whitehawk have the illness, with a further three in the wider community.

Public health bosses say although the disease has been diagnosed among some pupils and their families, it has not spread within the school.

Now health chiefs are urging people to take extra care with their hand hygiene, especially after using the toilet, changing nappies, or before preparing food.

Dr Margot Nicholls from Public Health England said: “Hepatitis A is usually a mild illness for children and the vaccinations at the school are a preventative measure to help prevent transmission and protect the local community from further cases.”

All 375 pupils and 68 staff are being offered the jab next Thursday.

Head teacher Mark Church said: “We wish those children who have contracted hepatitis A a speedy recovery to good health and look forward to welcoming them back to school.

“We understand that news of illness among children is always a worrying time for families which is why we are working closely with PHE and Brighton & Hove City Council, NHS Brighton & Hove CCG and NHS England to ensure we can do everything possible to help prevent further cases.”

He added: “Although PHE has advised that no cases were contracted within the school, our primary concern remains the welfare of children and staff which is why we are following PHE advice on public health and taking all sensible precautions by ensuring thorough handwashing, not sharing drinks mugs and use of specialist cleaning products.”

And he said: “I would like to thank all of our pupils, parents and staff for the very calm manner with which they have responded to this whole situation.

“We are very proud of them all.”

Anyone who suspects they may have hepatitis A should contact their GP.

Dr Nicholls added: “Hepatitis A is an infection caused by a virus, leading to inflammation of the liver.

“It is spread from person-to-person through the faecal-oral route or via contaminated food or drink and is often acquired when travelling abroad.

“Initial symptoms of hepatitis A are similar to flu and include mild fever, joint and muscle pain, feeling and being sick and diarrhoea.”