Health officials are still trying to identify the causes of cases of acute and severe hepatitis, which have infected scores of children in 16 countries, mainly in Europe.
More than 170 cases of acute acute hepatitis in children aged 1 month to 16 years have been reported in 16 countries, 12 in Europe. The highest number of cases have been found in Britain. Other infections have been reported from the United States, Canada, Israel and Japan.
The World Health Organization reports that 17 children have needed liver transplants and one child has died. Hepatitis in children can sometimes lead to chronic liver disease and liver failure.
Philippa Easterbrook is a scientist in the WHO’s Global Program on HIV, Hepatitis and Sexually Transmitted Infections. She said the origin of these infections in children is unknown. She said investigations showed that none of the children had the common viral causes of hepatitis A, B, C or E.
“The questionnaire did not identify any general exposure – whether it was to a toxin or a particular food and no strong travel history. And importantly, very few children have received COVID vaccination. Therefore, There does not appear to be any link with the COVID vaccine,” she said.
Easterbrook says that one line of investigation is to see if there is a possible link to adenovirus. It is a common infection in children, which can cause respiratory illness, gastroenteritis, conjunctivitis, and bladder infections.
He said that in most countries there are some cases of unexplained hepatitis in children every year. He said scientists are trying to find out whether the current apparent infection rate is actually unusually high or just a result of better reporting.
“There are suggestions that there is a markedly significant increase above that background rate in many countries that are able to report this data with some confidence. But we are now trying to establish in different countries that we We are working to investigate the cases and establish whether this is the case,” Easterbrook said.
WHO says toxicology, immunology and other studies will continue in hospitals. It notes the possibility that more cases will be detected before more control and prevention measures are taken before the cause of this infection is confirmed.