Child dies of mysterious hepatitis in Ireland as death toll hits six

Dailymail

Thirteen more children in the UK have been struck down by a mystery hepatitis that has been spotted in more than 20 countries.

There have now been 176 cases of the deadly liver disease among children under the age of 10 in Britain, with the majority (128) in England.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said it was also probing a ‘small number’ of suspected cases in children over 10.

It came as a child in Ireland has become the latest casualty of the outbreak, with a second child receiving a liver transplant.

The latest death is thought to bring the global fatality toll to nine, with five reported in the US and three in Indonesia. There have been none in Britain so far.

There have been around 350 cases of ‘severe hepatitis of unknown origin’ in children recorded in 21 countries since April.

At least 26 youngsters have required liver transplants, according to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) update last week.

Experts have warned the current cases may be the tip of the iceberg due to poor surveillance in some countries.

Scientists are puzzled as to what is causing the unusual illness, but the main theory is that it is triggered by a group of viruses that normally cause the common cold.

Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE) did not disclose the age of the latest victim but said its cases have been among children under the age of 12.

Since March, six children have been hospitalised with hepatitis in Ireland, which the HSE claimed ‘is more than would usually be expected over this period of time’.

The HSE said none of the cases in Ireland were linked and they were not linked to any of the patients in the UK. None had Covid, either.

Ireland is working closely with the WHO and colleagues in the EU and Britain to identify the cause of the illnesses.

Parents are advised to go to their GP if their child develops symptoms of hepatitis, which include pale, grey-coloured stools, very dark urine, or a yellowing of the eyes and skin. 

The common viruses that cause hepatitis: hepatitis viruses A, B, C, and E; have not been detected in any of the cases reported worldwide.

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