Cases of child hepatitis have been confirmed to have arrived in the West Midlands.

Since the start of the year, 111 children nationally have required hospital treatment for liver inflammation (hepatitis), with the majority of cases occurring in children under the age of five.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals has confirmed no cases have been seen in hospitals so far.

The news of hepatitis being in the West Midlands was confirmed by the UK Health Security Agency, however, regional figures are not currently available.

Dr Mamoona Tahir, UKHSA West Midlands Consultant in Communicable Disease Control, leading on blood-borne infections, said: “There are currently 111 children across the UK aged 10 and under that have been diagnosed as having hepatitis, where the usual viruses that cause the infection (hepatitis A to E) have not been detected.

"The cases are predominantly in children under 5 years old, who showed initial symptoms of gastroenteritis – diarrhoea and nausea – followed by jaundice.

"So far, 10 of these children have received a liver transplant. Investigations are being undertaken into a small number of children over 10.

“None of the current confirmed cases in under 10-year-olds in the UK is known to have been vaccinated, so there is nothing to suggest any link to the COVID-19 vaccine."

Bromsgrove Advertiser: Dr Mamoona Tahir.Dr Mamoona Tahir.

Dr Tahir stressed the importance for parents to be able to spot the signs of hepatitis in children.

She said: “It’s important for parents and guardians to be able to spot the signs of hepatitis, so they can contact a healthcare professional if they have concerns for their child’s health.

"Symptoms include dark urine, pale grey-coloured stools, muscle and joint pain, itchy skin, yellowing of the white part of the eyes or skin (jaundice), feeling and being sick, stomach pains, loss of appetite, a high temperature, feeling unusually tired all the time.

“Children experiencing symptoms of a gastrointestinal infection, including vomiting and diarrhoea should stay at home and not return to school or nursery until 48 hours after symptoms have stopped.

"Thorough handwashing is important to prevent the spread of infection, and it’s important to supervise young children to make sure they wash hands properly, especially before eating and after going to the toilet.”