A SECOND child’s death has been linked to the mysterious hepatitis outbreak.
Parents have been urged to watch out for signs of the serious illness, as cases rise all over the world.
One tragic death had already been confirmed by the World Health Organisation, although it’s not known which country the child was from.
And now another death has been linked to the outbreak in the US.
It has not been confirmed to be definitely due to unexplained liver damage, but it is part of a probe into a number of similar cases in Wisconsin.
Dozens of kids between one month and 16 years old have been struck down with liver inflammation in over 12 countries.
Currently scientists think the most likely cause is an adenovirus – common viruses that cause flu-like and gastro symptoms, and usually resolve without any lasting issues.
In kids they generally spark a mild illness, with liver inflammation (hepatitis) rare in healthy youngsters.
Traditionally the type of infections caused include the ear, common colds, pink eye and tonsillitis, with symptoms including coughs, sore throats, diarrhoea and fever.
But this illness has left scientists puzzled, with a number of kids needing liver transplants.
Cases have risen in countries including the US, UK, Spain, Israel, Canada and Japan.
This week it was revealed in a UK Health Security Agency report, experts think the adenovirus type 41F could be to blame.
At least 74 of the children have been found to be infected with an adenovirus.
Around 20 had Covid, and 19 had both Covid and an adenovirus infection.
Many of the infections involve this bug, which usually causes diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain and fever.
The report said: “Preliminary typing of the adenovirus has been consistent with type 41F where data is available from blood samples, however other adenovirus types have also been identified in non-blood samples.”
Routine data scans had picked up common viruses circulating in children are currently higher than in previous years, with a marked increase of adenovirus in the 1-4 age group.
Dr Meera Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at UKHSA, said there is increasing evidence the hepatitis is linked with adenovirus infection.
The 10 main hepatitis warning signs are:
- 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
- Tummy pain
Globally, 190 mysterious cases of the liver condition have been reported, despite none testing positive for common strains of the virus.
There have been 114 cases reported in Britain since March alone – more than double a normal year’s worth.
Medics claim three-quarters of UK incidents are linked to adenoviruses, which normally cause colds, sore throats and eye infections.
But with many under-fives missing out on early exposure due to lockdown, experts fear they have now been left more susceptible to severe reactions.
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