HEPATITIS cases in kids have risen to 348 globally as another child has died in the mystery outbreak.
Infections have been reported in 20 countries, with a further 13 now investigating 70 additional incidences of the illness.
Over 160 have been reported in the UK with just six other countries reporting more than five cases.
Sadly, a child in Ireland has died from the illness after being admitted to hospital with acute hepatitis.
Health chiefs say there have been six probable cases of the illness and that it's 'more than would usually be expected for this time of year'.
All kids affected in the country have been between one and 12 years and all have been hospitalised.
Other countries have also reported deaths from the illness, with three youngsters having died last month, in Indonesia.
In the US, doctors have now been advised to take liver samples from the sickest hepatitis cases.
Medics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said these should be taken, as well as stool, throat and blood samples being taken for adenovirus.
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Scientists have said that the leading cause of the outbreak is likely to be the sub-type 41 of adenovirus.
Philippa Easterbrook, from the WHO's global hepatitis programme said over the last week, there's been some important progress with the further investigations and some refinements of the working hypotheses.
"At present, the leading hypotheses remain those which involve adenovirus -- with also still an important consideration about the role of Covid as well, either as a co-infection or a past infection," she added.
Testing over the last week revealed that around 70 per cent of the cases tested positive for adenovirus.
The 10 signs of hepatitis you need to know
- 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
It has also shown that 18 per cent of cases actively tested positive for coronavirus.
Eastbrook added that in the next week there should be more data on hand from the UK as to where the outbreak has stemmed from.
Experts at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said now that kids are mixing more following the pandemic, there has been an increase in some infections.
"Almost all of the cases have been seen in children under 10, with most cases aged between 3 and 5 years.
"Most of the children affected were previously healthy, and only a very small number of cases are linked to another case of hepatitis.
"This means that even if there has been a case in your family or friends, or if a case has occurred at your child’s nursery or school, your child is still at low risk of developing hepatitis," they said.
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