A possible outbreak of hepatitis A, in at least 28 cases in Puntarenas, was ruled out after a field study conducted jointly by the Ministry of Health, the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) and the Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados (AyA).

The Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados (AyA) carried out a study that confirmed that potable water ingested by Puntarenas is safe for human consumption. Photography: John Durán

Health and Caja authorities carried out health studies, while the water and sewer utility (AyA) carried out a water study in Puntarenas. Laboratory analyzes revealed that the water is completely safe for human consumption.

Health authorities raised the alert after suspecting up to 162 patients of carrying the disease in the province.

Of this group of patients, 28 were finally confirmed with hepatitis A: 14 cases in Barranca, 4 in Puntarenas (ity), 6 in Chacarita, 1 in El Roble, 2 in Esparza and 1 in Jicaral. The average age of the patients is 30.


Hepatitis A signs and symptoms typically don’t appear until you’ve had the virus for a few weeks. But not everyone with hepatitis A develops them. If you do, hepatitis signs and symptoms can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Sudden nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort, especially on the upper right side beneath your lower ribs (by your liver)
  • Clay-colored bowel movements
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low-grade fever
  • Dark urine
  • Joint pain
  • Yellowing of the skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
  • Intense itching

These symptoms may be relatively mild and go away in a few weeks. Sometimes, however, hepatitis A infection results in a severe illness that lasts several months.