The WHO (World Health Organization) said the increase in the number of cases of acute childhood hepatitis of unknown origin is a “very urgent” issue to which the body is giving “absolute priority”.
“It is very urgent, and we are giving absolute priority to this and working very closely with the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control in the management and coordination”, said this Monday (2), in Lisbon, the regional director of Emergencies. from WHO, Gerald Rockenschaub.
The specialist, who is in Portugal for the Universal Health and Preparedness Review (UHPR) – a program to share resources between countries to prepare responses to public health emergencies – explained that several states have been alerted to “stay more specifically,” following the increase in the number of reported cases.
“We are doing everything possible to quickly identify what is causing this and then take appropriate action, at the national and international levels,” he said.
The first ten cases of this acute hepatitis were reported by the UK to the WHO on 5 April – the patients were children under the age of 10 with no previous illness. Since then, infections have also been detected in Spain, Israel, Denmark, Italy, the United States and Belgium, among other countries.
The age of those affected ranges from 1 month to 16 years; in most cases, they do not have a fever; and in none of them were the viruses associated with these diseases detected (hepatitis A, B, C, D and E), according to the WHO.
In Portugal, a country that has not yet detected cases, the Directorate-General for Health announced the creation of a body of work to monitor the situation.