A health warning has been issued to parents following a rise in hepatitis cases in young children

Posted on: 8th April 2022

It has been reported by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) that there has been a sudden rise in hepatitis among children in different locations across England with similar cases being assessed in Scotland.

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver which is most commonly caused by a viral infection.  The five main viral classifications are hepatitis A, B, C, D and E but in the children assessed so far, the cause of hepatitis is not linked to hepatitis A to E.

UKHSA is working with NHS and public health colleagues across the UK to investigate the potential cause. In England, there are approximately 60 cases under investigation in children under 10.

Dr Meera Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections, said:  "Investigations for a wide range of potential causes are underway, including any possible links to infectious diseases. We are working with partners to raise awareness among healthcare professionals, so that any further children who may be affected can be identified early and the appropriate tests carried out. This will also help us to build a better picture of what may be causing the cases.  We are also reminding parents to be aware of the symptoms of jaundice – including skin with a yellow tinge which is most easily seen in the whites of the eyes – and to contact a healthcare professional if they have concerns."

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