In children who have presented with hepatitis, “symptoms often start with vomiting and diarrhoea”, said Dr Hilary. This then leads to jaundice and liver damage. While 114 cases are currently under investigation, the sudden spike in hepatitis is believed to be the result of an adenovirus. Dr Hilary explained that while we see this type of virus “quite often”, it could be a new variant.
“Although no genomic sequencing confirms that,” the doctor said live on ITV’s Good Morning Britain.
Adenovirus typically causes respiratory symptoms, such as those seen in coughs and colds, in addition to gastroenteritis.
Dr Hilary also theorised that the surge in viral hepatitis “could be because of kids being away from schools” during the lockdowns.
As such, children were not exposed to the virus when younger, meaning they do not have enhanced immunity against the infection.
READ MORE: Hepatitis: What should parents be looking out for? Dr Nighat on how to spot deadly disease