Outbreak of hepatitis in children may be linked to lockdown – as doctors warn of 9 symptoms

Data shows there is no known hepatitis link to the Covid shots, but the lockdown may have played a role in preventing children from being exposed to common infections in their formative years, says a top medic

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What is hepatitis?

As cases of hepatitis in children rise across the UK, health chiefs have listed the nine most common symptoms parents should not ignore as the outbreak has been linked to the Covid lockdown.

At least 169 cases have been reported worldwide, with the majority – 114 – reported in the UK. One child died and 17 others needed urgent liver transplants.

British health officials believe a spike in cases could be due to pandemic measures preventing children from being exposed to frequent infections in their ‘formative’ years.

Britain’s Heath Security Agency has today published a detailed technical briefing on the investigations into a surge in cases, with most cases found in children under the age of 5.

They say there is no known link to the Covid vaccines and mothers and fathers should look out for yellowing of the whites of the child’s eyes or skin, dark urine and pale or gray stools.

Majority of cases rising in UK, World Health Organization has confirmed (file image)


(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Routine data shows that there is a significant increase in general, particularly in the 1- to 4-year-old age group.

The UK Health Security Agency said: “The UKHSA, in collaboration with Public Health Scotland, Public Health Wales and the Public Health Agency, are continuing to investigate the cases in children aged 10 and under that have occurred since January 2022.

“The usual viruses that cause infectious hepatitis (hepatitis A to E) have not been detected. Cases occur predominantly in children under the age of 5 who show initial symptoms of gastroenteritis (diarrhea and nausea) followed by the onset of jaundice.

“Active investigations to identify cases have identified an additional 3 confirmed cases since the last update on April 21, bringing the total number of cases to 111. Of the confirmed cases, 81 are based in England, 14 in Scotland, 11 in Wales and 5 are in Northern Ireland.

Data shows there is no known link to the Covid vaccinations (file image)


(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

“Of these cases, 10 children received a liver transplant. No cases have died in the UK. A small number of children over the age of ten are being studied.

“There is no connection with the coronavirus vaccine. None of the currently confirmed cases in the UK under the age of 10 are known to have been vaccinated.

“The information gathered through the investigations increasingly suggests that the rise in severe cases of hepatitis may be associated with adenovirus infection, but other causes are still being actively investigated.”

dr Meera Chand, director of clinical and emerging infections at the UKHSA, said younger children were becoming infected with the virus because they were not exposed to it “during the formative stages they went through” during the pandemic.

The medic said: “The information gathered through our investigations increasingly suggests that this increase in sudden onset hepatitis in children is related to adenovirus infection. However, we are thoroughly investigating other possible causes.

Parents must watch out for nine key symptoms as cases rise (file image)


(Getty Images)

“Parents and guardians should be alert for signs of hepatitis (including jaundice) and contact a doctor if they have concerns.

“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.

“Children with symptoms of gastrointestinal infection, including vomiting and diarrhea, should stay at home and return to school or daycare 48 hours after symptoms have resolved.”

Hepatitis symptoms include:

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