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Rise in child hepatitis cases linked to common virus

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There has been a rise in childhood hepatitis There has been a rise in childhood hepatitis

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is investigating over 100 cases of sudden-onset hepatitis in children in the UK since the start of this year.

The UKHSA have identified a total of 108 cases. All the children affected presented to health services between January 2022 and 12 April 2022. Of the confirmed cases, 79 are in England, 14 are in Scotland and the remainder are in Wales and Northern Ireland. Of these cases, 8 children have received a liver transplant.

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‘We are working with the NHS and public health colleagues in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to swiftly investigate a wide range of possible factors which may be causing children to be admitted to hospital with liver inflammation known as hepatitis,’ said Dr Meera Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at UKHSA.

‘Information gathered through our investigations increasingly suggests that this is linked to adenovirus infection. However, we are thoroughly investigating other potential causes.’

The investigation, including information from patient samples and surveillance systems, continues to point towards a link to adenovirus infection, with 77% of cases tested were positive for adenovirus.

‘Normal hygiene measures such as thorough handwashing (including supervising children) and good thorough respiratory hygiene, help to reduce the spread of many common infections, including adenovirus,’ added Dr Chand.

‘We are also calling on parents and guardians, to be alert to the signs of hepatitis (including jaundice) and to contact a healthcare professional if they are concerned.’

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