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Scientist rules out link between hepatitis cases and dogs

31 cases of sudden onset hepatitis have been confirmed in Scotland in children aged 10 and under, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has announced.

This brings the total number of cases across the UK to 222, as of Wednesday May 25.

The cases mainly concern children under the age of five, who presented initial symptoms of gastroenteritis (diarrhea and nausea) followed by jaundice. Fortunately, no child died.

A small number of children over the age of 10 are also examined as part of the UKHSA survey.

The UKHSA is investigating whether a previous Covid infection is behind the outbreak, but said there was “no evidence” the condition was linked to Covid vaccinations.

Scientists had also looked for a link between hepatitis cases and dogs, but ruled it out last week.

A more likely culprit is thought to be adenovirus, a common virus that causes infection.

UKHSA incident manager Dr Renu Bindra said parents should be ‘alert’ to symptoms of hepatitis.

Dr Bindra said: “Our investigations continue to suggest an association with adenovirus, and we are exploring this link, as well as other possible contributing factors, including previous infections such as Covid.

“We are working with other countries that are also seeing new cases to share information and learn more about these infections.

“We continue to remind everyone to be alert for signs of hepatitis, especially jaundice – look for a yellow tint in the whites of the eyes and contact your doctor if you are concerned.”