THIRTEEN cases of acute hepatitis have been identified in children in Wales, sparking a cross-agency investigation.
Public Health Wales said it is working with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) as well as Public Health Scotland (PHS) and Public Health Agency (Northern Ireland) to investigate after active case finding investigations identified 13 cases in Wales, an increase of two cases since the UKHSA’s update on 25 April.
A number of hypotheses are being investigated and the information gathered so far increasingly suggests that the rise in these cases may be linked to adenovirus infection, with other factors likely to be playing a role. Regular updates on the ongoing investigation into the cases in the UK can be found on the UKHSA website.
Dr Ardiana Gjini, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control 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.
“In addition, the importance of maintaining normal hygiene routines, especially ensuring that children wash their hands properly, help to reduce the spread of many common infections.
“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; and tummy pain.
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