Reported cases of mysterious hepatitis in children have doubled since last week: what to know

The number of cases of acute pediatric hepatitis of unknown cause continues to increase worldwide.

The number of cases worldwide now stands at 450, according to a May 11 report from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, nearly double the 228 cases reported by the World Health Organization last week. .

The ECDC, an agency of the European Union, said in its update on Wednesday that around 105 cases had been identified in 13 European Union countries as of May 10. Italy has the most cases among EU countries, with 35, followed by Spain with 22.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced last week that it was investigating 109 cases in 24 states and Puerto Rico, as well as five deaths linked to the outbreak. Most of the children were hospitalized and eight needed liver transplants.

RELATED: Mysterious Hepatitis Outbreak in Children: Which States Are Investigating Cases?

The UK has also identified around 163 children with acute hepatitis of unknown cause. At least 20 countries reported cases last week, according to the WHO.

The ECDC said in its update that the cause of these hepatitis cases is “still under investigation”. A possible association with current adenovirus infection has been found in cases in the UK in particular, but other hypotheses and possible co-factors are being investigated. Most cases continue to be reported as unlinked sporadic cases.”

Hepatitis, which is inflammation of the liver, is usually caused by one of the hepatitis viruses – hepatitis A, B, C, D or E. In these new cases, however, the typical causes of hepatitis hepatitis were excluded. The ECDC report did not specify the percentage of global cases in which the child tested positive for adenovirus, but adenovirus was detected in about half of cases in the US and UK. United.

The first US cases reported during the outbreak occurred in Alabama in October, and all of the children, ages 1 to 6, tested positive for the adenovirus. Adenoviruses are common and usually cause cold-like and gastrointestinal symptoms. Prior to these cases, adenoviruses were not known to cause hepatitis in healthy children, according to the CDC.

Last week, the CDC said it was working with state health departments and “investigators are examining a possible relationship to adenovirus type 41 infection.”

“It is not yet clear whether there has been an increase in the number of cases of hepatitis in children or improvements in case detection. It is not unusual for the cause of some cases of hepatitis in children remains unknown,” the CDC added.

The CDC has also released advice for parents to protect their children.

  • Know the symptoms of liver inflammation, including: Be aware of the symptoms of liver inflammation, including: fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, pale stools, joint pain, jaundice (yellowing of the skin).

  • Make sure your children are up to date with their vaccinations.

  • Encourage children to take steps to prevent illness, such as washing their hands, avoiding sick people, covering coughs and sneezes, and avoiding touching their noses, hands, and mouths.

If you have any questions about your child’s health, contact your health care provider.

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