Symptoms of mystery hepatitis strain in children that parents need to know

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0 getty images kids heptatitis outbreak.jpg
0 getty images kids heptatitis outbreak.jpg

Parents and guardians are being urged to watch out for the signs and symptoms of hepatitis in children after an outbreak of a mystery strain has lead to the death of one child in Ireland.

Cases of the unexplained liver inflammation were first detected in Scotland in early April, and have since been reported in 12 countries – Ireland, the UK, Spain, Israel, Denmark, Italy, Norway, France, Romania, Belgium, the Netherlands and the United States.

The confirmed cases involve children aged between one month and 16-years-old.

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Investigations are underway in all counties, including Ireland.

A HSE spokesperson said: “The children affected have no links to the other children involved.

“To date no single virus has been identified in the cases. Investigations are currently ongoing to identify the cause of these illnesses.

“The common viruses that cause hepatitis (hepatitis viruses A, B, C, and E) have not been detected in any of the cases. Other possible causes of the hepatitis are under investigation.

A statement reads: “Some of the cases reported gastrointestinal symptoms, including abdominal pain, diarrhoea and vomiting in the preceding weeks.

“Most cases did not have a fever. Some of the cases required care at specialist children’s liver units and a few had undergone liver transplantation.

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“Initial hypotheses by the incident team in the UK around the aetiological origin of the cases centred around an infectious agent or a possible toxic exposure. No link to the Covid-19 vaccine was identified and detailed information collected through a questionnaire to cases about food, drink and personal habits failed to identify any common exposure.

“Toxicological investigations are ongoing but an infectious aetiology is considered more likely given the epidemiological picture and the clinical features of the cases.”

“The HSE and the Department of Health continues to keep this under close review and we have issued precautionary information to GPs and paediatric consultants in this specialty.”

Signs and symptoms to look out for

The HSE has urged parents and guardians to be aware of symptoms of the mystery illness in children.

A HSE spokesperson said: “Parents are advised to be aware of symptoms of hepatitis and to go to their GP, if their child develops jaundice (discolouration of the white of the eye, dark urine and/or pale stools).

“The GP will assess the child and refer on for further assessment as indicated.

“If your child is unwell with respiratory or diarrheal or hepatitis symptoms, keep your child at home, and do not send to creche/preschool/school until they are better.”

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Brian Adam
Professional Blogger, V logger, traveler and explorer of new horizons.