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Guernsey “monitoring” sudden rise in hepatitis cases internationally

Guernsey “monitoring” sudden rise in hepatitis cases internationally

Saturday 23 April 2022

Guernsey “monitoring” sudden rise in hepatitis cases internationally

Saturday 23 April 2022


Guernsey’s Public Health Services are keeping an eye on a global spike of hepatitis infections in children.

The international outbreak has spread as far as the United States and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHAS) has been investigating a rise of cases since January 2022.

Sudden onset hepatitis presents itself as liver inflammation and there has been a mysterious rise in cases in children aged 10 and under. To date the UKHSA has identified 108 cases. 

However, the Director of Public Health, Dr Nicola Brink said: “We do not have any suspected cases currently in the Bailiwick.”

Despite this, Dr Brink said 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.”

Hepatitis.png

Pictured: Public Health said: “The viruses that we know most commonly cause infectious hepatitis (hepatitis A to E) have not been detected [in the cases so far discovered].”

Adenovirus has been discovered in 77% of cases in the UK and it’s believed there might be a connection. It has been stressed that the sudden spike of infections has not been linked to any covid vaccination.

“None of the currently confirmed cases in the UK are known to have been vaccinated,” said Public Health.

Despite being discovered in UK cases, the UKHSA says it is not usual to see adenovirus leading to infections presenting in this way. Work is ongoing to find other contributing factors.

Dr Brink says it’s important for islanders to be aware of the symptoms of hepatitis, especially parents.

If you have any concerns, or have seen any of the following symptoms, please contact a healthcare professional.

  • 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 

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