UK and US investigate cases of severe hepatitis in children

(CNN) — Health officials in the UK and US are investigating cases of severe hepatitis in children.

The World Health Organization has identified 74 cases of severe acute hepatitis (inflammation of the liver) in children across the UK, the WHO announced in a press release on Friday. Alabama health officials also said Friday they are investigating an increase in hepatitis in young children.

In its statement, the WHO said laboratory tests “exclude hepatitis viruses types A, B, C and E (and D where present) in these cases, while acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus severe type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and/or adenoviruses were detected in several cases.

“Although the potential role of adenovirus and/or SARS-CoV-2 in the pathogenesis of these cases is hypothetical, other infectious and non-infectious factors need to be thoroughly investigated to properly assess and manage the risk,” did he declare.

Other epidemiological risk factors, including recent international travel, have not been identified. “In general, the etiology of current cases of hepatitis is still considered unknown and under active investigation,” the WHO said. “Lab tests for additional infections, chemicals and toxins are ongoing for the identified cases.”

The WHO warns that more cases are likely to be detected before there are answers and the corresponding control and prevention measures have been taken.

The WHO identified for the first time 10 cases of the disease in previously healthy children aged 11 months to 5 years in central Scotland on April 5. Further investigations in the UK have identified a total of 74 cases, including the original 10, as of April 8.

Mental fog, consequence of covid-19 according to a study 1:56

Six of the children underwent liver transplants, but as of April 11, no deaths had been reported. One epidemiologically linked case has been detected: a person with acute hepatitis who has been in close contact with a confirmed case since January.

Fewer than five confirmed or possible cases have been reported in Ireland and three have been confirmed in Spain. These cases are under investigation.

“Member states are strongly encouraged to identify, investigate and report potential cases that meet the case definition,” the WHO said. “WHO does not recommend any travel and/or trade restrictions with the UK, or any other country where cases are identified, based on currently available information.”

The Alabama Department of Public Health said in a separate statement Friday that it is investigating an increase in hepatitis among young children.

“These children presented to providers in different areas of Alabama with symptoms of gastrointestinal illness and varying degrees of liver damage, including liver failure. Subsequent analyzes revealed a possible association of this hepatitis with adenovirus 41,” he said.

“To date, nine children under the age of 10 have been identified as positive for adenovirus and two have required liver transplantation. The affected children came from all over the state of Alabama and no epidemiological link between them has been established. None of these children had any notable underlying health conditions.”

In a statement obtained by CNN, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it is aware of and is working with the Alabama Department of Public Health to investigate the nine cases of hepatitis in children, ages 1-6, who have also tested positive for adenovirus since October 2021.

They are also aware of the recently reported cases in Europe and have reached out to their European counterparts to understand what they are learning. “Adenovirus has been confirmed in several of the European cases, but not all of them,” said the CDC, which is working with state health departments across the United States to see if there are any other cases in the country.

“Right now, adenovirus may be the cause, but researchers are still learning more, including ruling out the most common causes of hepatitis,” the CDC said in its statement. “It is important to note that not all illnesses are reported at the state or national level, and in these cases the CDC uses different surveillance methods, including working closely with physicians and health services. health to identify and detect unusual patterns or disease clusters,” they added.

The US National Public Health Agency said it would share additional information as it becomes available.

Leave a Comment