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Irish child being treated for acute form of hepatitis has died

Another child suffering from the illness has had a liver transplant

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A child in the Republic of Ireland who was being treated in hospital for an acute form of hepatitis has died.

A second child, who was also being treated for the illness, has received a liver transplant in the UK, the Health Service Executive in Ireland confirmed. 

Both of the cases are linked to an unexplained type of hepatitis that is being reported across the globe. 

The UK first alerted other countries about this illness in April, and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control says the total number of cases reported worldwide is around 450. 

Over the past 10 weeks, six probable cases of children with hepatitis of unknown cause have been detected in Ireland. 

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All of these children were hospitalised and were between the ages of one and 12. 

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver tissue and there are a number of different types of the illness, including hepatitis A, B and C. 

However, this acute form of hepatitis is of unknown origin, so all possibilities of the cause of this in children recently are being investigated. 

It is currently being explored whether it is linked to an increase in infections caused by adenovirus, which is a common cause of childhood illness. 

Investigations are also underway in Ireland and other countries to see if current or prior Covid-19 infection increases the chance of children developing hepatitis.

However, none of the Irish cases of the illness had evidence of coronavirus at their time of admission to hospital.

The majority of the cases had not received a Covid-19 vaccination. 

The HSE said none of these cases identified are linked to one another, and there are no links between the Irish and UK cases, as none had recently travelled to Britain. 

A spokesperson for the HSE added: “Ireland is liaising closely with ECDC, UK and WHO colleagues in efforts to identify the cause of this illness.

“GPs and paediatric consultants are aware of the recent increase in cases of hepatitis amongst children and will be alert to identify any further cases that may develop.”

The symptoms of hepatitis includes pale, grey-coloured stools, dark urine and the yellowing of the eyes and skin (jaundice). 

Parents are being advised to go to their GP if their child develops any of these symptoms.

Other symptoms include muscle and joint pain, a high temperature, feeling unusually tired and a loss of appetite. 


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