Investigation into Mysterious form of Hepatitis in Children in Europe and US

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The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) is working with the World Health Organization (WHO) to investigate dozens of cases of childhood hepatitis in the United Kingdom, Denmark, the Netherlands and Spain.

 

In some cases, patients had to be transferred to a service specializing in liver disease, and some children had to undergo liver transplantation.

After WHO announced further investigations into dozens of cases of severe hepatitis of unknown origin in the UK and Spain last Friday, additional cases have emerged in Denmark, the Netherlands and Spain, the ECDC said in a press release on Tuesday. Also, in the state of Alabama in the United States, nine cases have been reported in children between the ages of one and six. They all tested positive for the adenovirus.

Investigations are ongoing in all countries where cases have been reported. Hepatitis mainly affects children under the age of ten and manifests itself in symptoms such as jaundice, diarrhoea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

As the usual hepatitis viruses (A to E) have not been detected in the affected children, the UK health authorities have indicated that they are investigating the adenovirus hypothesis and other possible causes such as Covid-19, other infections or environmental factors. The coronavirus and/or adenovirus have been diagnosed in “several” infected children, but their role in developing the disease “is not yet clear,” says the WHO.

No connection has been found with any of the corona vaccines. So far, no other epidemiological risk factor, such as a recent trip abroad, has been identified either.

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