Posted: Fri 6th May 2022

Latest Public Health Wales update on acute hepatitis cases in children

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, May 6th, 2022

Public Health Wales (PHW) has given the latest update on a spate of severe liver inflammation (hepatitis) cases has been reported in previously healthy children.

PHW is working with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) as well as Public Health Scotland (PHS) and Public Health Agency (Northern Ireland) to investigate the cases of acute hepatitis in children.

Active case finding investigations have identified 13 cases in Wales, an increase of two cases since the UKHSA’s update on 25 April.

A number of hypotheses are being investigated and the information gathered so far increasingly suggests that the rise in these cases may be linked to adenovirus infection, “with other factors likely to be playing a role.” PHW said.

Adenoviruses make up a large family of viruses that can spread from person to person, causing a range of illnesses including colds and gastroenteritis. They are only rarely reported as a cause of severe hepatitis in healthy people.

Dr Ardiana Gjini, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control for Public Health Wales, said:

“Hepatitis can cause jaundice and inflammation of the liver, so parents and carers should be aware of the symptoms of jaundice – including skin with a yellow tinge which is most easily seen in the whites of the eyes.

“We are reminding the public to familiarise themselves with this and other symptoms of hepatitis in light of these UK cases.

“In addition, the importance of maintaining normal hygiene routines, especially ensuring that children wash their hands properly, help to reduce the spread of many common infections.

“Parents and carers are reminded that they should keep their children away from school and seek advice from a GP or an appropriate specialist if their child experiences any symptoms linked with hepatitis.”

Hepatitis symptoms include:

dark urine
pale, grey-coloured poo
itchy skin
yellowing of the eyes and skin (jaundice)
muscle and joint pain
a high temperature
feeling and being sick
feeling unusually tired all the time
loss of appetite
tummy pain

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