Public Heath Scotland (PHS) is investigating the cause of a small number of cases of hepatitis (liver inflammation) in young children across the central belt of Scotland.
PHS is aware of 11 cases of hepatitis requiring admission to hospital that have been identified in children aged between 1 and 5 years old in four NHS Health Board areas in Scotland (Lanarkshire, Tayside, GGC and Fife). Most cases have presented from March. The hepatitis viruses commonly associated with this condition have been excluded.
Each year around 7 or 8 cases of non A to E hepatitis (without other underlying diagnoses) are detected in children in Scotland. The number of cases in such a short period of time, combined with the geographical spread and severity of illness, in some cases, is unusual and requires further investigation.
As yet, there is no clear connection between the cases.
At present, there is no clear cause. All potential causes are being explored but infection is considered to be a more probable source this time.
Investigations are still in the early stages and work is ongoing with partners and other agencies across the UK to investigate these cases.
Dr Nicholas Phin, Director of Public Health for Public Health Scotland said:
“If you have a child who is showing signs of jaundice, where the skin has a yellow tinge and is most easily seen in the whites of the eyes, then parents should contact their GP or other Health Care professional.
“We are continuing to investigate these cases and will provide further updates as and when they are available.”