Warning for parents to check for 10 hepatitis signs after mystery spike in under 10s

PARENTS have been warned to check their children for hepatitis after a mystery spike in kids under 10.

Hepatitis is a liver condition and can occur for many reasons, including severe viral infections common in children.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said it has detected higher rates than usual of hepatitis.

In England there are currently around 60 cases being investigated in children under the age of 10, with similar cases also being assessed in Scotland.

Director of clinical and emerging infections, Dr Meera Chand said that investigations for a wide range of potential causes are underway.

This she said, included possible links to infectious diseases.

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"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", Dr Chand said.

In Scotland, officials said the number of cases in such a short period of time and combined with the geographical spread and severity of illness, was “unusual”.

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Officials have said there is no cause for concern for the cases that have been detected in the areas of Lanarkshire, Tayside, Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Fife.

There is currently no clear link between the current cases.

Director of health at Public Health Scotland, Dr Nicholas Phin said parents should contact their GP or health care professional if their child is showing symptoms.

The 10 main hepatitis symptoms are:

  1. dark urine
  2. pale, grey-coloured poo
  3. itchy skin
  4. yellowing of the eyes and skin (jaundice)
  5. muscle and joint pain
  6. a high temperature
  7. feeling and being sick
  8. feeling unusually tired all the time
  9. loss of appetite
  10. tummy pain

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Long-term hepatitis can also develop without any symptoms, until the liver fails completely, so it is sometimes only caught in blood tests.

It's important to note that these 10 symptoms might not always been down to hepatitis and that if you child has unusual symptoms then you should see your GP.

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