Public Health Wales investigating hepatitis cases as children in England and Scotland are diagnosed with the disease
Public Health Wales has confirmed it is working with Public Health Scotland (PHS), Public Health Agency (Northern Ireland) and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to investigate cases of acute hepatitis in children.
The cause of these is not yet known, but the most common causes from hepatitis viruses have been ruled out.
There are no known cases in Wales under active investigation currently, but a very small number of cases from earlier this year corresponded with the clinical presentation.
Health officials say there is no known association with travel linking the cases.
Dr Giri Shankar, Director of Health Protection 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.
“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
Around 60 cases of the inflammatory liver condition have been found in youngsters under 10 in England, and 11 cases in Scotland saw children hospitalised.
Dr Meera Chand, director of clinical and emerging infections at the UK Health Security Agency, said “investigations for a wide range of potential causes are under way, 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,” said Dr Chand.
Public Health Scotland said there was currently no clear connection between the cases detected in Lanarkshire, Tayside, Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Fife.
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