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13th Apr 2022

Parents warned of hepatitis outbreak in children under 10 in UK

74 children under the age of 10 have been diagnosed with liver inflammation.

Parents in the UK have been urged to be vigilant after 74 children under the age of 10 have fallen ill with hepatitis.

The warning comes from the UK Health Security Agency.

It reads: “Public health doctors and scientists at the UK’s public health agencies are continuing to investigate 74 cases of hepatitis (liver inflammation) in children since January 2022, where the usual viruses that cause infectious hepatitis (hepatitis A to E) have not been detected.

“Of the confirmed cases, 49 are in England, 13 are in Scotland and the remainder are in Wales and Northern Ireland.”

Health officials are investigating potential causes of the outbreak, and one of them is a group of viruses called adenoviruses.

The UKHSA have also said that other causes of the outbreak are being “actively investigated”, and these could be Covid-19, other infections or environmental causes.

The agency has confirmed that there is no link between the outbreak and the Covid-19 vaccine, as none of the currently confirmed cases in the UK have been vaccinated.

The UKHSA state that adenoviruses are a common family of viruses that usually cause mild illnesses, such as colds, vomitting and diarrhoea. Most people recover without any complications. However, the agency states that hepatitis is a “known rare complication” of the virus.

The virus is passed from person to person, by touching contaminated surfaces or through the respiratory route.

Good hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene and supervised hand washing in younger children can help reduce the spread of adenoviruses.

Additionally, parents have been urged to look out for symptoms of hepatitis, particularly jaundice, and to seek medical attention if they are concerned about their child.

The agency have said that as their investigation continues, they will be making the public aware of their findings in due course.