Warning over mysterious hepatitis outbreak in kids – the 10 signs you must not ignore

PARENTS have been urged to look out for the signs of hepatitis as more cases of the illness have been detected in children in the UK.

Doctors are continuing to investigate 74 cases that have emerged since January 2022.

Earlier this month it was reported that 60 cases had been identified in England in children under the age of 10.

Medics at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said they are working with public health experts across the four nations.

Dr Meera Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections, UKHSA, said they were trying to get to the bottom of possible factors that are causing children to be admitted to hospital with liver inflammation known as hepatitis.

Since January, 49 cases have been confirmed in England, 13 cases in Scotland and the remainder are in Northern Ireland and Wales.

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Experts are investigating the link between adenoviruses, Covid-19, other infections and environmental causes.

While the experts are investigating possible ties to Covid-19, officials said there is 'no link' to vaccines as the children diagnosed with hepatitis did not have a jab.

Dr Chand said: "One of the possible causes that we are investigating is that this is linked to adenovirus infection. However, we are thoroughly investigating other potential causes.

“Normal hygiene measures such as good handwashing, including supervising children, and respiratory hygiene, help to reduce the spread of many of the infections that we are investigating.

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"We are also calling on parents and guardians, to be alert to the signs of hepatitis – including jaundice – and to contact a healthcare professional if they are concerned.”

Adenoviruses are a group of viruses that cause a range of mild illnesses and most people recover without any complications.

If you have caught a virus like this then you will likely experience symptoms such as colds, sickness and diarrhoea.

The viruses don't causes hepatitis, but are a known side effect.

Hygiene measures are key as these viruses are passed from person to person and through contaminated surfaces.

KNOW THE SIGNS

As more cases of hepatitis have been identified, parents of young children have been urged to watch out for the key signs of the illness.

The 10 main hepatitis symptoms are:

  1. dark urine
  2. pale, grey-coloured poo
  3. itchy skin
  4. yellowing of the eyes and skin (jaundice)
  5. muscle and joint pain
  6. a high temperature
  7. feeling and being sick
  8. feeling unusually tired all the time
  9. loss of appetite
  10. tummy pain

Long-term hepatitis can also develop without any symptoms, until the liver fails completely, so it is sometimes only caught in blood tests.

It's important to note that these 10 symptoms might not always been down to hepatitis and that if you child has unusual symptoms then you should see your GP.

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