Hepatitis: WHO warns more cases of hepatitis likely to come as cases surge in UK

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Although no deaths have yet been reported among the cases, the surge in cases is likely to continue, according to the WHO.

Doctor Meera Chand, director of clinical and emerging infections at the UKHSA, called on parents to be alert to the symptoms of hepatitis amid the rise in cases.

The expert said in a statement: “One of the possible causes that we are investigating is that this is linked to adenovirus infections. However, we are thoroughly investigating other potential causes.

“Normal hygiene measures such as good hand washing, including supervising children and respiratory hygiene, help to reduce the spread of many of the infections that we are investigating.

 

“We are also calling on parents and guardians to be alert to the signs of hepatitis, including jaundice, and to contact a healthcare professional if they are concerned. “

Unfortunately, many people with hepatitis do not show signs that they are infected.

When symptoms do emerge, however, they can appear anytime from two to six weeks after exposure to the virus.

These typically include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, light-coloured stools, joint pain and jaundice, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

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The body had noted that the UK has recently seen an increase in adenovirus activity, with several children testing positive for the virus, or coronavirus.

It remains unclear, however, if there is any link between either disease and the hepatitis cases.

The WHO said more cases are likely to be picked by its extensive surveillance measures before the cause of the virus is identified.

Appropriate control measures will be taken, warned the body.

The rise in hepatitis cases was first flagged by the UK earlier this month, but reports have since been made in Ireland and Spain.

In Spain, three cases were confirmed in children ages 22 months to 13-year-olds, the WHO said in a statement.

Meanwhile, five cases of suspected or confirmed hepatitis have been reported in Ireland, where authorities are probes are ongoing.

None of the typical viruses that cause hepatitis have yet been detected, but one epidemiological case has been found.

A number of hepatitis viruses – namely A, B, C, D, and E – commonly cause the condition.

Hepatitis C can be more severe and is considered the most deadly, but those afflicted by the virus can still recover without lasting liver damage.

However, figures show up to 70 percent of this chronically affected by hepatitis C go on to develop persistent liver disease.

Up to 20 percent of these patients, develop cirrhosis – or scarring of the liver – which prevents the organ from working properly.

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