Health authorities around the world investigate cases of hepatitis in children

Cases of hepatitis are not unheard of but concern lies with the severity of the condition.

There has been a mysterious increase in the number of severe hepatitis cases around the world, which has left many health authorities concerned. Over 130 cases have been reported with 108 cases reported in Britain. Spain, Denmark, Netherlands, Israel and the United States (U.S.) have also identified some cases. The cases first raised concern on April 6, in Scotland as children were very sick to the extent where several required liver transplants. "This is still a very low number of cases, but they are children, that is the main concern, and the other thing is the severity," stated Maria Buti, a hepatology professor from Barcelona and chair of the European Association of the Study of the Liver's public health committee, who has been tracking the epidemic with the European Centre for Disease Control.

Health authorities in the U.S. and Europe have requested that doctors be vigilant for the condition. Symptoms related to the condition are yellowing of the eyes, dark urine, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fatigue, fever, loss of appetite, joint pain and light-coloured stools. There is no specified treatment for hepatitis, however steroids can assist as well as medication to treat the conditions symptoms. The British Health Security Agency has stressed handwashing and "good thorough respiratory hygiene", which involves covering ones month when coughing and sneezing to prevent the spread of the virus. Experts have noted that the rise in cases has been relatively slow but warned that more cases are expected. "If you pay attention to a thing, you see more of it," noted Buti.