The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization, together with other medical organizations around the world are continuing their investigation of a mysterious outburst of hepatitis cases in children. The number of infections has currently reached almost 350 cases, with UK reporting the highest number of cases, 176, according to The Sun.
While the incidence of cases is on the rise, the CDC has stated that “It is not yet clear whether there has been an increase in the number of cases of hepatitis in children, or improvements in detecting cases“. At the moment, there are ongoing efforts to determine what are the best testing protocols for the fast identification and reporting of these cases by healthcare providers.
But what are the hepatitis symptoms parents should be on the lookout for?
Hepatitis is characterized by the inflammation of the liver, which is usually caused by a number of viruses, medical treatments, alcohol and, less frequently, by genetic disorders. Unfortunately, at this point, the global medical authorities responsible with the investigation of this outburst have not been able to identify its exact cause.
However, they have issued a list of symptoms that could be associated with the disease, which includes:
- loss of appetite,
- abdominal pain,
- dark urine,
- light-colored stools,
- joint paint and jaundice (yellowing of the skin).
If any of these symptoms occurs in their children, parents should immediately seek the advice of their healthcare provider or pediatrician. At the same time, parents are advised to teach their children to maintain a good hygiene, avoid people displaying symptoms of illness and abstain from touching their faces, especially their eyes, nose and mouth.
While investigations are carried out all over the world, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control stated that “at present, the exact cause of hepatitis in these children remains unknown. The incident team in the United Kingdom, where most of the cases have occurred to date, consider that an infective cause is most likely based on the clinical and epidemiological features of the cases under investigation“.