The Argentine Ministry of Health reported the first case of acute hepatitis of unknown origin in a child. The country is the first in Latin America to have an official case after the outbreak of the disease, which has already reached more than 20 countries.
According to official sources, the patient is an 8-year-old boy who is hospitalized at the Children’s Hospital in the city of Rosário, in the province of Santa Fé.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported on May 3 that around 228 cases of acute childhood hepatitis of unknown origin had been reported in less than a month and another 50 are under investigation.
Most of the verified reports correspond to the European region, but cases were also detected in the Americas, Western Pacific and Southeast Asia.
The United Kingdom was the first country to identify an increase in cases of the disease in children, on 5 April.
What immediately caught the eye is that severe hepatitis, like those in the current outbreak, is uncommon in children. Furthermore, typical hepatitis viruses have not been detected in any case so far, which makes the origin mysterious.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said adenovirus type 41 has been detected in at least 74 cases.
While this adenovirus has been linked to hepatitis in children with weakened immune systems, it “is not known to be a cause of hepatitis in healthy children,” according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) alert. .
A classic symptom of hepatitis is jaundice, when the skin or the whites of the eyes turn yellow. This sign was seen in many of the affected children, according to the WHO.
Many also had gastrointestinal symptoms, including abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting. Most cases did not have a fever, according to the UN health agency.
Other symptoms of hepatitis can include fatigue, loss of appetite, dark urine, light-colored stools, and joint pain. These symptoms, however, have not been reported much.