One child has died after contracting ‘hepatitis of unknown cause’ in Ireland.
A second child being treated for the same illness has received a liver transplant.
In a statement, the HSE said six cases have been detected in Ireland and a “small number” of other cases are being investigated.
The cases are all in children aged between one and 12-years-old.
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. It can be caused through viral infections, heavy alcohol use, medications or toxins.
Scientists around the world are investigating the cause of the unexplained cases – which have now been detected in at least 12 countries.
Up to now, no single virus has been identified in any of the cases identified and none of the children have been diagnosed with any of the common viruses that cause hepatitis – Hepatitis A, B, C, and E.
The Irish cases have no links to the UK and none of the children had recently travelled there.
Researchers in the UK are investigating whether the unknown strain is linked to an increase in adenovirus infections, which are common in children.
Scientists are also investigating whether there are any links to COVID or if the outbreak is linked to something in the environment.
The HSE said none of the Irish cases were currently COVID positive and the majority were not vaccinated.
Parents are advised to be on the lookout for symptoms and to contact their GP if their child develops any of the.
They can include:
- Pale, grey-coloured poo (stools)
- Dark urine
- Yellowing of the eyes and skin (jaundice)
“If your child has any of these three symptoms, you should contact your GP without delay,” said the HSE. “The GP will assess the child and refer on for further assessment as indicated.”
Other symptoms include:
- Muscle and joint pain
- A high temperature
- Feeling and being sick
- Feeling unusually tired all the time
- A general sense of feeling unwell
- Loss of appetite
- Tummy pain
- Itchy skin
If your child is unwell with respiratory symptoms, diarrhoea or hepatitis symptoms, contact your GP and keep them at home until they are better.