Spain, Ireland report cases of mysterious childhood hepatitis first detected in UK: WHO – POLITICO

Cases of hepatitis, first identified in children in the UK, have now been found in Ireland and Spain, according to the World Health Organization called in a statement Friday.

Three cases in children aged 22 months to 13 years have been confirmed in Spain since the UK drew attention to the problem earlier this month, the WHO said. The national authorities are investigating these cases. Fewer than five cases of confirmed or possible hepatitis have been reported in Ireland, where investigations are also pending.

The cause of the disease remains unclear. None of the common viruses that cause hepatitis have been detected.

The UK reported its first cases of severe childhood hepatitis on April 5 and 74 cases have been found so far. Children’s symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and jaundice, a yellow discoloration of the skin associated with liver disease. The children were usually up to 10 years old.

Six of these children required a liver transplant. As of April 11, no deaths have been reported among those cases, the WHO said, and one epidemiologically linked case has been discovered.

The WHO noted that the UK has “recently observed an increase in adenovirus activity” and that several children have tested positive for adenovirus or the coronavirus or both – but it is not clear if there is a link to the hepatitis cases .

The rise in the number of cases in the UK, combined with increased surveillance activity, means more cases of hepatitis are likely to be found before the cause can be identified and appropriate control measures put in place, the WHO has warned.

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