Warning to parents as 12 kids die in mysterious hepatitis outbreak and 450 fall sick

PARENTS have been warned to be on the look out for signs of hepatitis as 12 children have now died from the illness.

Around 450 kids have come down with condition since the mysterious outbreak started.

European officials said there have been 11 casualties, with it last week also being reported that a child had died in Ireland, bringing the grim toll to 12.

Three youngsters died last month in Indonesia, and another fatality in the US is believed to be linked to the outbreak.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has reported 450 cases of the illness across the globe.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO), last week said infections have been reported in 20 countries, with a further 13 investigating 70 additional incidences of the condition.

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The latest report from UK chiefs suggests that there have been 176 cases across the country.

The majority of these have been in England, with 128 cases, in Scotland there have been 26, 13 in Wales and nine in Northern Ireland.

In the US, doctors have now been advised to take liver samples from the sickest hepatitis cases.

Medics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said these should be taken, as well as stool, throat and blood samples to check for adenovirus.

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Scientists have said the leading cause of the outbreak is likely to be the sub-type 41 of adenovirus.

Philippa Easterbrook, from the WHO's global hepatitis programme said over the last week, there's been some important progress with further investigations and some refinements of the working hypotheses.

"At present, the leading hypotheses remain those which involve adenovirus — with also still an important consideration about the role of Covid as well, either as a co-infection or a past infection," she added.

Testing over the last week revealed that around 70 per cent of the cases tested positive for adenovirus.

It has also shown that 18 per cent of cases actively tested positive for coronavirus.

Experts at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said that now kids are mixing more following the pandemic, there has been an increase in some infections.

The 10 signs of hepatitis you need to know

  1. Dark urine
  2. Pale, grey-coloured poo
  3. Itchy skin
  4. Yellowing of the eyes and skin (jaundice)
  5. Muscle and joint pain
  6. A high temperature
  7. Feeling and being sick
  8. Feeling unusually tired all the time
  9. Loss of appetite
  10. Tummy pain

"Almost all of the cases have been seen in children under 10, with most cases aged between 3 and 5 years.

"Most of the children affected were previously healthy, and only a very small number of cases are linked to another case of hepatitis.

"This means that even if there has been a case in your family or friends, or if a case has occurred at your child’s nursery or school, your child is still at low risk of developing hepatitis," they said.

Dr Meera Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at UKHSA said it’s important that parents know the likelihood of their child developing hepatitis is extremely low.

She said: "We continue to remind everyone to be alert to the signs of hepatitis – particularly jaundice, look for a yellow tinge in the whites of the eyes – and contact your doctor if you are concerned.

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"Our investigations continue to suggest that there is an association with adenovirus and our studies are now testing this association rigorously.

"We are working closely with the NHS and academic partners to actively investigate the role of other contributors, including prior SARS-CoV-2 and other infections."

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