Cases of hepatitis first identified in children in the UK have now been discovered in Ireland and Spain, the World Health Organization said in a statement on Friday.
Since the UK reported the problem earlier this month, three cases have been confirmed in Spain in children aged 22 months to 13 years, the WHO said. The national authorities examine these cases. Fewer than five confirmed or possible cases of hepatitis have been reported in Ireland, where investigations are also ongoing.
The cause of the disease remains unclear. None of the common viruses that cause hepatitis were detected.
The UK reported its first cases of severe hepatitis in children on April 5 and 74 cases have so far been discovered. Symptoms in children include abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and jaundice, a yellow discoloration of the skin linked to 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 had been reported among these cases, the WHO said, and one epidemiologically linked case had been detected.
The WHO noted that the UK “has recently seen an increase in adenovirus activity” and that several children have tested positive for either adenovirus or coronavirus or both – but it is unclear s there is a link with cases of hepatitis.
The increase in the number of cases seen in the UK, coupled with more extensive surveillance activity, means it is likely that more cases of hepatitis will be discovered before its cause is identified and control measures taken. appropriate measures can be taken, warned the WHO.
This article is part of POLITICO Pro
The one-stop solution for policy professionals fusing the depth of POLITICO journalism with the power of technology
Exclusive and never-before-seen scoops and ideas
Personalized Policy Intelligence Platform
A high-level public affairs network