Statement from the Director of Public Health

While we’re all looking forward to the Early May Bank Holiday weekend, some time off work and getting to spend time with friends or family, it pays to be prepared in case of unexpected illnesses.

If you’re unlucky enough to be unwell, help and advice is available for health issues including minor illnesses.

Don’t forget if you have a regular prescription, make sure you have enough medication to last the Bank Holiday weekend.

Bank holiday pharmacy opening times are available through the NHS website.

With so much focus on the Coronavirus pandemic over the past two years, we need to remember that other illnesses are still with us.

Public health doctors and scientists at the UK’s public health agencies are investigating 111 cases of hepatitis (liver inflammation) in children since January 2022, where the usual viruses that cause infectious hepatitis (hepatitis A to E) have not been detected. Of these cases, 10 children have received a liver transplant.

Hepatitis is the term used to describe inflammation of the liver. There are several different types of hepatitis. It can be caused by infectious and non-infectious agents. Some types will pass without any serious problems, while others can be long-lasting (chronic).

There is no link to the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine or any other vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain organisms that grow in the human body and none of the currently confirmed cases in children under 10 are known to have been vaccinated.

Information gathered through investigations increasingly suggests that this is linked to the very common adenovirus infection, a family of very common viruses that cause a range of mild illnesses such as colds, vomiting and diarrhoea, and while they don’t typically cause hepatitis, it can be a very rare complication of some types of adenovirus infection.

Adenoviruses are commonly passed from person to person and by touching contaminated surfaces, as well as through the respiratory route. The most effective way to minimise the spread of such viruses is to practice and supervise thorough handwashing and parents should supervise children while they do it. Wash your hands after you have used the toilet or changed a nappy, and before preparing food. We are also calling on parents and guardians, to be alert to the signs of hepatitis – including jaundice – and to contact a healthcare professional if they are concerned, particularly if their child has recently had a stomach bug.

Hepatitis symptoms include:

  • yellowing of the white part of the eyes or skin (jaundice)
  • dark urine
  • pale, grey-coloured faeces (poo)
  • itchy skin
  • muscle and joint pain
  • a high temperature
  • feeling and being sick
  • feeling unusually tired all the time
  • loss of appetite
  • tummy pain.

If your child develops the common mild symptoms that could be due to adenovirus infection, such as mild respiratory symptoms or diarrhoea, the chance of them developing hepatitis is extremely low. You do not need to contact the NHS unless your child is very sick (for example, has breathing difficulties or is not eating or drinking) or if he or she develops jaundice (yellowing of the eyes or skin). If your child is getting rapidly worse or you are worried, you should trust your instincts and contact your doctor or call the NHS on 111. Children with adenovirus symptoms should be kept at home and not be sent to school or nursery.

Meanwhile, the pandemic is also still with us, with reported rates of Covid fluctuating within the borough. Rates have almost doubled after last week’s fall and are currently at 454.5 per 100,000 population: around 141 people per day. However, this rate will be an underestimate in cases as free testing is no longer available to most people and estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggest that around 7% of people are currently Covid-19 positive based on samples for North West from the ONS infection survey. Based on these estimates, around 20,000 people in Stockport. See the latest published data online.

To help protect yourself and your family, we have extended the pop-up vaccination clinic the end of May at One Stockport Hub (OSH), in the former Argos store, in Merseyway, SK1 1RA on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, 9.30am to 5pm, and Saturday, 9.30am to 3.30pm for eligible cohorts aged 12 plus.

This is to facilitate the Covid 19 spring booster programme and anyone who has not yet had a first or second vaccination or booster in a convenient place to get boosted and stay protected from COVID-19. There’s a particular focus on booster vaccines for over 75s, and those aged 12 years and over who have a weakened immune system. An extra booster is beneficial for those at higher risk of severe coronavirus, because immunity derived from vaccination declines over time and many of the oldest adults received their most recent vaccine dose in September or October 2021.

In addition, children aged between 5 and 11 are also invited to get their first Covid vaccine at the One Stockport Hub from 9.30am to 3.30pm on Saturdays. No appointment is necessary. Also, 5 to 11 years olds can book a vaccination every Sunday, from 8 May, from 12pm to 6pm, at Trinity Methodist Church, 351 Bramhall Lane, Bramhall, SK3 8TP. Appointments must be booked in advance, as the clinic is not accepting walk-in appointments for children of this age, via the national booking website, or call 119 free of charge.

If you can’t make it to one of the pop-ups, GPs in Brinnington, Bramhall, Cheadle Hulme, Hazel Grove, High Lane, Marple and Reddish are inviting all their eligible patients aged 75+. Vaccinations are also being offered by some pharmacies and you can book your appointment via the National Booking Service or by calling 119. The appointment dates you’ll be offered start from 3 months (91 days) after your previous dose but booking an appointment around 6 months after your previous dose is preferable to get maximum protection from a spring booster.

Walk-in and booked appointments clinic are also available at Trinity Methodist Church, 351 Bramhall Lane, SK3 8TP, from Tuesday to Saturday, 9am to 6pm, and every Sunday, 9am to 3pm.

Full details of places to get a vaccination in Stockport, including many options available without prior booking, are on the CCG website.

So far, 87.4% of those aged 18+ and 87.1% of those aged 16 plus have received their first dose. Also, 85.4% of those aged 18+ and 84.7% of those aged 16 plus have received their second dose. Also, 64.6% of healthy 12–15-year-olds have had a first dose and 45.2% have had their second dose. In addition, 72.3% of the adult population have had a booster dose and 70.8% of those aged 16 plus.

While free PCR or lateral flow device testing is no longer be available for most people, they are still available to purchase, so if you do carry out an LFT test, please do continue to report the result.

If you do test positive, our advice is that adults should isolate for 5 days and children for 3 days. After this period, you can end your isolation if you feel well and don’t have a temperature but should avoid contact with anyone who might be particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 until 10 days after your positive test.

You can also still continue to adapt your behaviour to reduce the risk of catching and passing on COVID-19 by:
• Getting vaccinated
• Letting fresh air in if meeting indoors, or meeting outside
• Wearing a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces, especially where coming into contact with people they do not usually meet and when rates of transmission are high
• Washing hands and following advice to “Catch it, Bin it, Kill it”.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button