The main symptoms of hepatitis include dark urine, gray stools, itchy skin, jaundice, fever, vomiting, loss of appetite, and muscle and joint pain
(Image: Getty Images/Science Photo Library RF)
More than 100 children have contracted a mysterious hepatitis, eight of whom need a liver transplant.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said a further 34 cases of the sudden liver infection had been identified, bringing the total across the UK to 108.
Cases have also been reported in the US, Ireland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Spain, but scientists are still unsure what causes them.
You suspect a virus and haven’t ruled it out Covid-19.
However, the prime suspect is a family of common viruses called adenoviruses, which typically cause a range of mild illnesses, including the common cold, vomiting, and diarrhea. Most people recover without complications.
Some experts believe children’s weakened immune systems after repeated lockdowns could be a factor.
dr Meera Chand, Director of Infections at UKHSA, said: “We are working with that NHS and public health colleagues in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to quickly examine a variety of possible factors that may lead to children being hospitalized with a liver infection known as hepatitis.
“The information gathered through our investigations increasingly suggests that this is related to adenovirus infection. However, we are thoroughly investigating other possible causes.
“Normal hygiene practices such as thorough handwashing (including supervision of children) and good, thorough respiratory hygiene help reduce the spread of many common infections, including adenovirus. We also urge parents and guardians to watch for signs of hepatitis (including jaundice) and to contact a doctor if they have concerns.”
Hepatitis symptoms include dark urine, gray stools, itchy skin, jaundice, high temperature, vomiting, loss of appetite, and muscle and joint pain.
It is usually caused by the hepatitis A through E viruses, but in these cases the children were found not to have them, so the cause is still unknown.
dr Kimberly Marsh, an epidemiologist at Public Health Scotland, wrote in the journal Eurosurveillance that children may be “immunologically naïve” to the virus due to pandemic restrictions.
She said: “The leading hypotheses revolve around adenovirus – either a new variant with a distinct clinical syndrome or a routinely circulating variant that affects younger children who are immunologically naïve more severely.
“The latter scenario may be the result of restricted social mixing during the pandemic.”
The UKHSA said Covid-19 vaccines did not cause the cases as none of the children had been vaccinated.
So far 79 of the young people affected live in England, 14 in Scotland and the rest in Wales and Northern Ireland.
All affected children were presented to the health service between January 2022 and April 12, 2022.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/mystery-hepatitis-hits-108-children-26768412 Mysterious hepatitis affects 108 children and eight of them require liver transplants