WHO announces it is monitoring cases of mysterious hepatitis affecting children in Europe

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced this Friday (15) that it is monitoring cases of hepatitis of unknown cause that affect children in Europe. As of early April, 74 cases have been identified in the UK, but no deaths have been recorded.

Six children diagnosed with the disease had to undergo a liver transplant. Spain confirmed three other cases, while Ireland is carrying out an investigation into possible suspicions.

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All infections were analyzed and none of them were hepatitis A to D, the five most common types of the disease. Patients were aged between 11 months and 5 years.

Most cases experience symptoms that include elevated liver enzymes. Patients also had jaundice (yellow skin and/or eyes), some gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

“We are working with partners to raise awareness among healthcare workers so that any other children who may be affected can be identified early and appropriate testing performed,” reported Meera Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at the Safety Agency. UK Health Department (UKHSA).

Hepatitis
WHO announces that it is monitoring cases of mysterious hepatitis affecting children in Europe. Image: Alona Siniehina/Shutterstock

Chand pointed out that investigations are being carried out to understand what is motivating this wave of infection. Covid-19 and “other infections” are believed to be the cause.

The UK health agency stressed that the issue has no link to SARS-CoV-2 vaccination, just note that many affected children are still not eligible for immunization.

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