Symptoms to watch out for
Currently, more than 170 children (mainly in the UK) have mysterious hepatitis of unknown cause, of which 1 child has died and 17 children need a liver transplant. The disease has spread to more than 10 countries, with the first case recorded in Asia being in Japan.
What causes the spread?
Viral hepatitis is usually caused by the hepatitis A, B, C, D, or E viruses, but signs of these viruses have not been seen in recent cases of severe hepatitis in children.
Medical experts have hypothesized a link between this hepatitis and the adenovirus. Laboratory tests detected some children with adenovirus 41. However, adenovirus does not seem to fully account for all emerging cases.
“Although adenovirus is a possible hypothesis, investigations are still underway to find the causative agent.” WHO said.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has rejected the hypothesis related to the side effects of COVID-19 vaccine because most children are unvaccinated.
As such, currently the exact cause of severe hepatitis in children remains unknown. Scientists are gathering reports of the disease and continue to investigate the specific cause.
Symptoms of acute hepatitis to note
Dr Meera Chand, Clinical and Emerging Infections Director at UKHSA, advised parents to be on the lookout for signs of hepatitis (including jaundice).
She said: “Children with symptoms of gastrointestinal infection including vomiting and diarrhea should stay home and not return to school or daycare until 48 hours after the symptoms have ceased.”
Other hepatitis symptoms to watch out for:
– Yellowing of the skin or eyes
– Dark urine
– Pale colored stools
– Itchy skin
– Muscle and joint pain
– Fever; nausea or vomiting
– Feeling unusually tired all the time
Dr. Chand emphasized that common hygiene practices, such as good hand washing and thorough respiratory hygiene, can help reduce the spread of many common infections, including adenovirus.
The health agency also reminds people to avoid touching their face and mouth and to keep their distance when possible because adenovirus is often transmitted from person to person and when touching contaminated surfaces, as well as by road. Respiratory.
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