Thursday, 12 May 2022
Ceisteanna ar Pholasaí nó ar Reachtaíocht - Questions on Policy or Legislation
Leo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
Hepatitis C is a very serious illness that has affected a lot of people in Ireland, including women and, in particular, people who suffer from haemophilia. Thankfully, hepatitis C can now be cured. There is a tablet for it that eliminates it from your system. It is an extraordinary miracle of modern science that this is now possible and available. It appears, however, that there is a new form of hepatitis in the world. It is not hepatitis C. We do not know exactly what type of hepatitis it is. I am sad to report that the HSE has confirmed that at least one Irish child who was being treated for this new form of hepatitis has died. A second child who is being treated for the same illness has had to receive a liver transplant. Both children were considered to be probable cases of an unexplained type of hepatitis that has been reported in children worldwide. The Health Behaviour in School-aged Children, HBSC, network reports that over the past two months, six cases of children with hepatitis of an unknown cause have been detected in Ireland. The six children were aged between one and 12 years and all were hospitalised. None of the Irish cases tested on admission to hospital had any evidence of Covid-19 infection at the time. Ireland is liaising very closely with our European, UK and World Health Organization colleagues in an effort to identify the cause of this illness. It is a matter of concern that we are very much aware of and plugged into. I thank the Deputy for raising it.