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Increase in childhood cases of hepatitis

Over the past few months an increase in cases of childhood acute hepatitis, or liver inflammation, have been seen. Whilst the likelihood is very low it’s important to be aware of the signs.

The most common symptom associated with these cases is jaundice – so look out for yellowing of the skin and eyes and contact your GP if you are concerned.

Other symptoms of hepatitis include:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Fever
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Not feeling well
  • Stomach pain or discomfort
  • Diarrhoea

The definite cause of this increase in cases is not yet known, though there is a suggested association with adenovirus – a virus which can cause colds, diarrhoea and respiratory infections in children. Although further investigations are needed.

Dr Meera Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at UKHSA, said:

“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.”