UK confirm new cases of acute hepatitis in children  

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The United Kingdom Health Security Agency has witnessed increased acute hepatitis cases in children aged ten and above. 

Hepatitis is a condition that affects the liver and can be caused by the influence of a virus. The viruses that cause hepatitis (hepatitis viruses A- E) have not been found in the children affected by the recent growth in acute hepatitis.

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Therefore, the public health team of the United Kingdom are investigating other possible causes. Some areas are being explored to find whether the hepatitis cases are linked to an increase in infections caused by adeno virus, a common cause of childhood illness.  

Over the last two years, children have been socializing less because of the COVID-19 pandemic; due to that, the number of common infections seen in children has been reduced.    

Some children with acute hepatitis have recently had a COVID-19 infection, but there has been a high number of COVID-19 infections in this age group, so this is not unexpected. 

There is no link between these hepatitis cases and the COVID-19 vaccine. None of the current cases aged under ten years old in the UK has been vaccinated.

Childhood infections are commonly passed from person to person through close contact, coughing and sneezing or by touching contaminated surfaces. The most effective way to reduce the spread of infections is to practice good hand and respiratory hygiene.

Cover your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze, and wash your hands regularly. Supervise thorough handwashing in younger children and make sure they cover their nose and mouth when they cough or sneeze.

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Hepatitis symptoms include:

  • yellowing of the white part of the eyes or skin (jaundice)
  • dark urine
  • pale, grey-coloured faeces (poo)
  • itchy skin
  • muscle and joint pain
  • a high temperature
  • feeling and being sick
  • feeling unusually tired all the time
  • loss of appetite
  • tummy pain

 

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