The common denominator for all those infected was that they had been on Statfjord C during May together with 250 other offshore personnel. It was considered certain that they contracted the disease on the platform, and extensive hygiene measures were accordingly adopted to halt further transmission.
Hepatitis is an acute viral liver infection, and most victims show symptoms of jaundice (yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes), fatigue, nausea or stomach pains. The hepatitis A virus is usually transmitted through water polluted with faecal matter or via food handled by infected people who have poor hand hygiene.
What made this form of disease on a large platform serious is that those who worked there lived all over Norway and could spread the infection nationwide without knowing it, since the incubation period is two to seven weeks. Poor hygiene and very lax hand-washing after visiting the toilet by a single person who prepared food on Statfjord C was probably the cause of this serious outbreak.
Norwegian Wire Service (NTB), 26 June 2000. “Epidemi rammet oljeplattform”.
Bergens Tidende, 26 June 2000. “Gulsott-utbrudd på Statfjord C”.
Interview with Arne Evensen.