Irish parents are being warned to be vigilant about the symptoms of hepatitis in children as the number of cases continues to rise.
A total of 24 cases of acute illness have been identified among children on the island of Ireland – 16 of which have been confirmed in the north so far.
A total of eight cases in children have been reported by health chiefs in the Republic – which marks an increase of two on recent figures.
The mystery illness has sparked concern and is currently being referred to as non-A-E hepatitis or ‘sudden onset hepatitis’.
The issue is not confined to Ireland, with cases being detected in 20 countries globally so far. Meanwhile, the UK has reported a whopping 160 cases in recent weeks.
In Britain, 11 children have required a liver transplant after developing the condition, and it has been confirmed that most cases have affected children under the age of five.
According to the HSE, all of the expected cases of the illness in Ireland were found in children aged between one and 12.
All of the children affected have been hospitalised, and one had to receive a liver transplant while another tragically passed away.
The HSE confirmed that none of the cases have been linked in any way at this point and those affected have not been abroad in the weeks before the infection.
Now that parents are being encouraged to remain vigilant, it’s important to know that symptoms can happen a bit differently in each child and some may not develop any symptoms.
Symptoms of sudden (acute) hepatitis may include:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes (jaundice)
- Nausea or vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Not feeling well
- Stomach pain or discomfort
- Joint pain
- Sore muscles
- Itchy red hives on the skin
- Clay-colored stools
- Dark-colored urine
If your child begins to show these symptoms, parents or guardians should contact their GP for advice on what to do.
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