The number of registered cases of sudden onset hepatitis in children under the age of 10 has risen to 114, while the number of cases requiring a liver transplant has risen to 10, health chiefs have announced.
The World Health Organization reported a death of a child with hepatitis this weekend but did not say where it had occurred. However noted Sky newsthe UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has reported that there have been no deaths in the UK.
Still, said Aikaterini Mougkou of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, the emerging trends are “really worrying”.
Here’s what we know.
What is it?
“Hepatitis is the collective term for inflammation of the liver tissue,” said the BBC.
It can be caused by either a viral infection or exposure to some chemicals, alcohol, drugs, and some genetic disorders.
Short-term (acute) hepatitis often has no noticeable symptoms, the said NHSso you may not realize you or your child have it.
However, symptoms to look out for include yellowing of the eyes and skin. Other signs include muscle and joint pain, high temperature, nausea or vomiting, loss of appetite, dark urine and light gray stools.
Treatment options depend on the type of hepatitis the patient has and whether the infection is acute or chronic, he said health line. Treatments can range from antiviral medications to rest.
Health chiefs said children with symptoms of gastrointestinal infection should stay at home and not return to school or daycare until 48 hours after symptoms have resolved.
Why is it on the rise?
The rise in hepatitis cases in young children has been linked to lockdown and social distancing, it has been reported The Telegraph.
dr Meera Chand, who is leading the UKHSA’s inquiry into the dramatic rise in cases, said the virus could hit young children hardest as lockdown restrictions meant they weren’t exposed to it in their formative years.
There are fears that a common adenovirus may have mutated to become more severe, the paper noted. Officials noted the cases were not caused by the usual viruses that cause hepatitis A through E, and so the surge could be linked to a group of viruses called adenoviruses.
UK health officials have ruled out the Covid vaccine as a possible cause as none of the cases in children under the age of ten had been vaccinated in the UK.
However, things could get worse. Liver experts said the cases reported so far could be the “tip of the iceberg” as some symptoms could be missed.
https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/science-health/956542/the-rise-in-childrens-hepatitis Behind the rise in hepatitis in children