Warning as mysterious cases of hepatitis in children reach 300

PARENTS have been told to watch for symptoms of hepatitis as a mysterious outbreak in children rises.

Jaundice and vomiting are the most common symptoms seen in children hospitalized with liver inflammation, British health chiefs have said.

Jaundice and vomiting are the most common symptoms in children with the mysterious form of hepatitis


Jaundice and vomiting are the most common symptoms in children with the mysterious form of hepatitisPhoto credit: Getty

It is not clear what is behind the sudden increase in hepatitis.

Investigations into Adenovirus, Covid, Paracetemol use and domestic dogs are ongoing.

The World Health Organization said there were 300 probable cases in 20 countries.

But data shows more than half live in the UK. Health chiefs say they have detected at least 163 since Jan. 1.

An update from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) on Friday shows 18 additional cases registered on May 3 compared to April 29.

None of the children died in the UK but 11 required liver transplants.

About 13 children remain hospitalized while 88 have been discharged and have fully recovered.

Elsewhere in the world, at least one death has been confirmed by the WHO, with five more reported by the US and three by Indonesia.

Infection by the common hepatitis types AE was ruled out as a possible cause.

But a common virus called adenovirus, which can cause an upset stomach, a sore throat and ear infections, is under close scrutiny.

Many of the children have tested positive for adenovirus, including at least 91 of the 163 in the UK.

UKHSA said some of those who tested negative did not have a blood sample, which is the most reliable way of tracking down an adenovirus bug.

But because it’s not common to see hepatitis after adenovirus infection in previously healthy children, the research is looking at other factors that could contribute, the UKHSA said.

These include previous Covid infection or an alteration in the adenovirus genome itself.

worried about the dog

It comes after suggestions that domestic dogs could be behind the spate of cases.

A survey of families revealed “a relatively large number of dog-owning families” among those affected by the hepatitis outbreak.

About 64 out of 92 cases were linked to exposure of dogs.

“The significance of this finding is under investigation,” the UKHSA said, but adding that “pet dog ownership is common in the UK”.

It was also found that three quarters of respondents had mentioned using paracetamol.

The prevalence of paracetamol use is considered consistent with guidelines for treating acute illness in children, the experts said.

dr Meera Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at UKHSA, said: “It is important for parents to know that the chance of their child contracting hepatitis is extremely small.

“However, we continue to remind everyone to watch for signs of hepatitis – particularly jaundice – to look for a yellow cast in the whites of the eyes and to contact your doctor if you have any concerns.

“Our research continues to suggest that there is an association with adenovirus, and our studies are now rigorously testing that association.”


The UKHSA said the vast majority of cases involve people under the age of five.

In a May 6 report, it revealed the most common symptoms seen in children when they are hospitalized with hepatitis.

These goods:

  1. Jaundice (71%)
  2. vomiting (63%)
  3. Pale stools (50%)
  4. diarrhea (45%)
  5. Nausea (31%)
  6. Abdominal pain (42%)
  7. Lethargy (50%)
  8. fever (31%)
  9. Respiratory problems (19%)

Early evidence suggests that children with hepatitis have been infected with adenovirus type 41, which causes stomach problems.

Before hepatitis, this type of adenovirus can cause:

  • stomach pain
  • Vomit
  • nausea
  • Diarrhea Warning as mysterious cases of hepatitis in children reach 300

Sarah Y. Kim

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