The rising cases – which totalled 163 at the time of writing (check link above for further updates) – are likely to be caused by the F41 strain of adenovirus, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said.
Most of the children affected are five years or under and have had gastrointestinal symptoms followed by jaundice.
Dr Meera Chand, director of clinical and emerging infections at UKHSA, said parents should be assured that cases are rare, but should seek advice if a child is feeling and being sick, is unusually tired all the time, has loss of appetite, tummy pain, yellowing of the white of the eyes or skin, dark urine, pale grey stools, itchy skin, muscle and joint pain, and a high temperature.
Scientists are investigating whether the adenovirus’s genes have changed to more easily trigger liver inflammation, plus whether recent Covid-19 infection is an additional trigger.
To reduce spread, the UKHSA said parents should ensure good handwashing and hygiene, and watch for possible symptoms.
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