Number of UK children with hepatitis increases to 145

·2-min read
The cause of a number of hepatitis cases is under investigation (David Davies/PA) (PA Wire)
The cause of a number of hepatitis cases is under investigation (David Davies/PA) (PA Wire)

The number of children in the UK suffering with hepatitis has risen to 145.

In their latest update, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) revealed there had been an increase of 34 cases.

Parents have been issued with a warning about a hepatitis strain that has left ten British children needing liver transplants, the number which has not increased since Monday.

As many as 145 children have been struck down by the virus sparking experts to urge parents to look out for any evidence of jaundice in their kids.

Children have needed hospital care for liver inflammation (hepatitis), with the majority of cases occurring among children under the age of five.

The leading line of inquiry is that the cases are being fuelled by a common virus called the adenovirus which causes mild illnesses including stomach upsets and colds.

No British children have died so far.

Experts pointing to a lack of exposure to a common virus during Covid restrictions could be behind the surge in cases.

Dr Meera Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at UKHSA, said: “We know that this may be a concerning time for parents of young children.

“The likelihood of your child developing hepatitis is extremely low.

“However, we continue to remind parents to be alert to the signs of hepatitis – particularly jaundice, which is easiest to spot as a yellow tinge in the whites of the eyes – and contact your doctor if you are concerned.

“Normal hygiene measures including thorough handwashing and making sure children wash their hands properly, help to reduce the spread of many common infections.

“As always, children experiencing symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhoea should stay at home and not return to school or nursery until 48 hours after the symptoms have stopped.”

Hepatitis symptoms

  • yellowing of the white part of the eyes or skin (jaundice)

  • dark urine

  • pale, grey-coloured faeces (poo)

  • itchy skin

  • muscle and joint pain

  • a high temperature

  • feeling and being sick

  • feeling unusually tired all the time

  • loss of appetite

  • tummy pain