The WHO (World Health Organization) is monitoring dozens of cases of hepatitis of unknown origin in children in the United Kingdom, Spain and Ireland, some of which have had to undergo liver transplants, the organization announced on Friday (15). .
The United Kingdom reported ten cases of severe hepatitis in Scotland on April 5, a tally that three days later rose to 74, according to the WHO statement, which expects new cases to emerge in the coming days.
Some of those infected had to be transferred to the service specializing in liver diseases, and six minors needed liver transplants, the WHO detailed.
In addition, at least five _possible or confirmed_ cases have been reported in Ireland and three in Spain, the WHO said. However, there is no record of any deaths.
Hepatitis mainly affects children under 10 years of age and is manifested by symptoms such as jaundice (yellowish discoloration of the skin), diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain.
The common hepatitis viruses (A, B, C and E, plus D where applicable) were not detected in infected minors. Although some cases have tested positive for Sars-CoV-2 and/or adenovirus, genetic characterization of the viruses has yet to be performed to determine possible associations between cases.
Recently, the UK has seen an increase in the activity of the adenovirus, which is co-circulating with Sars-CoV-2, but the role of these viruses in the pathogenesis (mechanism by which the disease develops) of this mysterious hepatitis is still unclear.
No other epidemiological risk factors have been identified to date, including recent international travel. Laboratory tests for additional infections, chemicals and toxins are ongoing for identified cases.
Authorities have ruled out any link to the coronavirus vaccine, as none of the cases reported in the UK have received the immuniser.