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Public Health Services monitoring emerging data on hepatitis in children

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Friday 22 April 2022

Public Health Services are monitoring emerging data on the international rise in cases of hepatitis in children.

We are aware that the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is investigating a rise in cases of sudden onset hepatitis (liver inflammation) in children aged 10 and under since January 2022. In these cases, the viruses that we know most commonly cause infectious hepatitis (hepatitis A to E) have not been detected. 

To date the UKHSA has identified a total of 108 cases. All the children affected presented to health services between January 2022 and 12 April 2022. Of these, 8 children have required and received a liver transplant.

Importantly, no link to the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine has been detected. None of the currently confirmed cases in the UK are known to have been vaccinated. On-going investigations point to towards a link to an adenovirus infection. Seventy-seven per cent of cases tested in the UK were positive for adenovirus. However, the UKHSA note that it is not usual to see this pattern of disease from adenovirus. For this reason, they are actively investigating other possible contributing factors, such as another infection (including COVID-19) or an environmental cause. This work is on-going.

Dr Nicola Brink, Director of Public Health said:

'We are aware of the situation and are monitoring developments closely. We have been in contact with colleagues in Primary and Secondary Care and we do not have any suspected cases currently in the Bailiwick, however, we need to remain vigilant.

Normal hygiene measures such as thorough handwashing (including supervising children) and good thorough respiratory hygiene, help to reduce the spread of many common infections, including adenovirus. It is important to continue to practice many of the precautions that we also use to prevent COVID-19.

I think it is also important for islanders, particularly parents and guardians, to be alert to the signs of hepatitis (including jaundice) and to contact a healthcare professional if they are concerned.'

Hepatitis symptoms include:

If you have any concerns, please seek health from a healthcare professional. 

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