Last week, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said that there were almost 300 probable cases of children with severe hepatitis detected in 20 countries worldwide.
Officials of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) on Friday revealed that 18 more cases of severe liver condition were recorded as of 3 May (compared to 29 April), bringing the UK total to 163.
According to the reports, a review of questionnaires with families has found “relatively high numbers of dog-owning families or other dog exposures”, with 64 out of 92 cases where data was available talking about dog exposure.
“The significance of this finding is being explored. Pet dog ownership is common in the UK,” the UKHSA said in a statement. It is noteworthy that none of the children have died. Meanwhile, the investigations are continuing into other factors which may be contributing which include previous COVID-19 infection or a change in the adenovirus genome itself.
Some of the most common symptoms of this mysterious liver disease in children in the UK are jaundice and vomiting, and the vast majority of cases are in those under five.
“It’s important that parents know the likelihood of their child developing hepatitis is extremely low. However, we continue to remind everyone to be alert to the signs of hepatitis – particularly jaundice, look for a yellow tinge in the whites of the eyes – and contact your doctor if you are concerned. Our investigations continue to suggest that there is an association with adenovirus and our studies are now testing this association rigorously,” Dr Meera Chand, director of clinical and emerging infections at UKHSA, said.
Last week, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said that there were almost 300 probable cases of children with severe hepatitis detected in 20 countries worldwide. So far, cases of this liver disease have been reported in Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United States.