THE two most common symptoms in kids hospitalised in the US over the mystery hepatitis outbreak have been revealed.

Children who were then rushed to hospital with inflamed livers had vomiting and diarrhoea.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week used data from Alabama, where the majority of US cases have been found.

All of the children who then became seriously ill were generally healthy, with no immune system issues.

While the most common signs were vomiting and diarrhoea, many children also had upper respiratory symptoms- like runny nose, sneezing, sore throat.

Most of them had enlarged livers, jaundice and yellowing in the eyes.

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The mysterious outbreak of hepatitis cases in children has now spread to 20 countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The US has the second highest infections (27), followed by Spain (13) and Israel (12), but the UK has the most with 145 cases.

The source of the ailment is puzzling doctors globally, with hepatitis types A-E ruled out.

Scientists think it is related to adenovirus infection, which are commonly spread by close personal contact, respiratory droplets and surfaces. 

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There are more than 50 types of adenoviruses, which cause the common cold.

But early evidence suggests children with hepatitis had been infected with adenovirus type 41 – which causes symptoms of tummy pains, vomiting, nausea and diarrhoea.

This comes before signs of liver inflammation, which may include jaundice – yellowing of the skin and eyes.

WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told reporters in Geneva yesterday: “As of May 1, at least 228 probable cases were reported to WHO from 20 countries, with over 50 additional cases under investigation.”

The update suggests eight countries have detected cases in the last week since the WHO’s previous update.

The WHO has confirmed that one child, from an undisclosed location, has died of the inflammatory liver disease.

A further four deaths – three in Indonesia and one in the US – have been reported by health ministries, but not officially confirmed as related.

Dr Meera Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at the UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) said it was a concerning time for parents.

She surged them to be alert to warning signs in their children, “particularly jaundice, which is easiest to spot as a yellow tinge in the whites of the eyes”, Dr Chand said.

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She added: “Contact your doctor if you are concerned.

“As always, children experiencing symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhoea should stay at home and not return to school or nursery until 48 hours after the symptoms have stopped.”

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