Hepatitis of unknown origin in children – what happens

The World Health Organization reports cases of acute hepatitis in children in 12 countries. Its origin is unknown.

As writes BB.LVof all reported cases, 114 are in the UK, 13 in Spain, 12 in Israel, 9 in the US, 6 in Denmark, at least five cases in Ireland, 4 each in the Netherlands and 2 in Italy, 2 each in Norway and France, one each in Belgium and Romania.

The age of sick children is from 1 month to 16 years. Liver transplantation was required in approximately 10% of patients. The WHO reports one child who has died of illness.

According to the data of the organization, in none of the cases were hepatitis viruses of types A, B, C, E and D detected. Adenovirus was found in 74 children, adenovirus group F (type 41) was detected in 18 using molecular testing.

Dr Mira Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at the UK Health Agency, asks parents to watch closely for signs of hepatitis, including yellowing of the skin:

“Normal hygiene measures such as good handwashing, child supervision and respiratory hygiene help reduce the spread of many of the infections that we study.”

The virologist reassures that parents should not be scared, and that cases are still quite rare. There is no link between hepatitis cases and the COVID-19 vaccine. None of the children stricken with hepatitis in the UK have been immunized against the coronavirus.

Be aware that the symptoms of hepatitis are usually fever, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, dark urine, and yellow skin. The diagnosis of hepatitis is confirmed by a blood test for transaminases, substances whose elevated levels indicate active inflammation of the liver.

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