Public Health Agency statement on acute hepatitis in children


The Public Health Agency (PHA) is working with counterparts in other jurisdictions on a UK-wide investigation into acute hepatitis in children in which the common viruses which usually cause hepatitis have not been detected. Acute hepatitis is a condition that affects the liver.


There are no confirmed cases in Northern Ireland currently. The agency is working with HSC partners to raise awareness among healthcare professionals, so that any children who may be affected can be identified early and the appropriate tests carried out.


Dr Gillian Armstrong, Interim Joint Head of Health Protection at the PHA, said: “Hepatitis can cause jaundice and inflammation of the liver. We are reminding parents to be aware of the symptoms of hepatitis in light of these UK cases. If you have a child who is showing signs of jaundice where the skin or whites of the eyes have a yellow tinge, then you should contact your GP or other healthcare professional.


“Parents and carers are also reminded that they should keep their children away from school and seek advice from a GP or an appropriate specialist if their child experiences any symptoms linked with hepatitis.”


Hepatitis symptoms include:


  • 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