At least 11 children aged between one and five are being treated in hospitals across Scotland for paediatric hepatitis.
Amid the outbreak medics and public health services are urging parents and carers to look out for signs of the condition that can be very serious.
While some types of hepatitis will pass without any serious problems, others can be long-lasting (chronic) and cause scarring of the liver (cirrhosis), loss of liver function and, in some cases, liver cancer.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is asking those looking after children to be vigilant for symptoms of jaundice, which can be a sign of liver inflammation.
Dr Meera Chand, director of clinical and emerging infections at UKHSA, said: “Investigations for a wide range of potential causes are underway, including any possible links to infectious diseases.
“We are also reminding parents to be aware of the symptoms of jaundice – including skin with a yellow tinge which is most easily seen in the whites of the eyes – and to contact a healthcare professional if they have concerns.”
What are the symptoms to look out for?
Hepatitis symptoms include:
- dark urine
- pale, grey-coloured poo
- itchy skin
- yellow of the eyes and skin (jaundice)
- muscle and joint pain
- a high temperature
- feeling and being sick
- feeling unusually tired all the time
- loss of appetite
- tummy pain
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