A 10-MONTH-OLD boy has contracted "acute" hepatitis as the mysterious worldwide outbreak continues.
Singaporean officials yesterday confirmed the youngster's condition and are now desperately investigating whether his symptoms mirror those by experienced by other children internationally.
The tot has so far tested negative for the common viruses known to cause hepatitis – type A, B, C and E – according to the country's Ministry of Health (MOH).
However, the sudden onset of his disease could be linked to a previous coronavirus infection from December.
A MOH spokesperson said: "The case has a previous history of Covid-19 infection in December 2021, although there is no evidence at this time that the acute hepatitis is related to Covid-19."
There have so far been 145 confirmed hepatitis cases in children the UK this year, with 10 requiring liver transplants.
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A further 55 cases have been reported in Ireland, the US, France, Denmark, Belgium, Romania, Spain, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, Japan – and now Singapore.
One fatality from the illness has been confirmed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), and another in the US has been linked to the global outbreak.
Those affected by the latest outbreak of inflammation of the liver are aged one month to 16 years.
Health chiefs have urged parents to be vigilant for signs of the virus in their kids, which include itchy skin, tummy pain and a high temperature.
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But they have insisted that the chances of most children contracting hepatitis remain "extremely low".
Dr Meera Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at UKHSA, said: "We know that this may be a concerning time for parents of young children.
"The likelihood of your child developing hepatitis is extremely low.
"However, we continue to remind parents to be alert to the signs of hepatitis – particularly jaundice, which is easiest to spot as a yellow tinge in the whites of the eyes – and contact your doctor if you are concerned.
"Normal hygiene measures including thorough handwashing and making sure children wash their hands properly, help to reduce the spread of many common infections.
"As always, children experiencing symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhoea should stay at home and not return to school or nursery until 48 hours after the symptoms have stopped."
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Experts believe the existing cases are most likely linked adenovirus infection, but other possible causes include Covid, weakened immunity due to lockdowns, and environmental factors.
So far, adenovirus – which causes flu-like and gastro symptoms – has been detected in at least 74 of the cases, while coronavirus has been found in another 20.
Most common hepatitis warning signs:
- Dark urine
- Pale, grey-coloured poo
- Itchy skin
- Yellowing 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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