Investigations are currently underway over a total of 74 cases of hepatitis in children across the UK. The officials of the UK Health Security Agency says parents should look out for symptoms such as jaundice.
These cases of hepatitis or liver inflammation in children currently being investigated are as follows; 49 cases in England, 13 in Scotland and 12 across Wales and Northern Ireland.
They are of the belief that the cause could be the common adenovirus but have also not ruled out covid-19.
Director of clinical and emerging infections at UKHSA Dr Meera Chand, said officials were exploring what could be the reason why children are being admitted to hospital with liver inflammation.
According to Dr Chand, “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.”
Covid-19 as well as other infections or environmental triggers are also other possible explanations being investigated.
Adenoviruses are a family of viruses responsible for a range of mild illnesses such as colds, vomiting and diarrhoea. Although hepatitis is not a common complication of these viruses, a link has been found in rare cases.
Dr Chand has then given parents pieces of advice to reduce spread which includes supervising good handwashing and hygiene at home, as well as keeping an eye out for possible symptoms.
He said; “We are calling on parents and guardians to be alert to the signs of hepatitis – including jaundice, or yellowing of the eyes and skin – and to contact a healthcare professional if they are concerned.”
Other symptoms of the hepatitis include:
- Dark Urine
- Itchy Skin
- Muscle Pain
- A Loss Of Appetite
According to the UKHSA, no link has been established between the cases of these children and the Covid-19 vaccine, as none of the children involved has been vaccinated.
Professor Will Irving, a virology expert from the University of Nottingham, described as very unusual the current trend of hepatitis cases in cases of hepatitis in children under the age of 10.
He said, “In relation to viral hepatitis, infection in childhood very rarely causes clinical disease, adding it was often much worse if caught as an adult.”
What Is Hepatitis?
It’s a medical condition used to describe inflammation of the liver. Although it is chiefly caused by viruses, it can also be caused by exposure to some chemicals, drinking too much alcohol, drugs and certain genetic disorders.
The types of hepatitis caused by specific viruses are five in number – known as A, B, C, D and E – but interestingly, none of those appear to have caused the liver inflammation seen in these children so far.
Some types of hepatitis can be acute and pass without any serious problems, while others can be chronic.
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