The World Health Organization is monitoring cases of hepatitis in dozens of children in the United Kingdom whose origin remains to be determined, who in some cases have required liver transplants, she announced on Friday. The UK initially reported 10 cases of severe hepatitis in Scotland to the WHO on April 5, before reporting a total of 74 three days later, according to a WHO statement, which expects to new reports in the coming days.
Some cases required transfer to a ward specializing in liver disease and six children had to undergo a transplant, the WHO said. Less than five confirmed or possible cases have also been reported in Ireland, and three cases in Spain, she continues. No deaths have been recorded.
Young children affected
This hepatitis mainly affects children under 10 years old, and is manifested by symptoms such as jaundice, diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain.
Since the usual hepatitis viruses (A to E) have not been detected in affected children, the British health authorities have recently indicated that they are examining the hypothesis of a type of virus (adenovirus), as well as d other possible causes such as Covid-19, other infections or environmental factors. However, they ruled out any link with the Covid vaccine, which was not administered to any of the confirmed cases in the United Kingdom.
In a statement, Meera Chand of the UK Health Safety Agency (UKHSA) pointed out that “normal hygiene measures” such as hand washing “help reduce many of the infections we are investigating” and called on parents and caregivers to be alert for signs of hepatitis, and to “contact a healthcare professional if they are concerned”.
The WHO stressed that Covid-19 and/or adenovirus, which is experiencing an upsurge in the UK, had been detected “in several cases”, but their role in the development of the disease “is not yet clear”. “No other epidemiological risk factor has been identified to date, including recent international travel,” continues the WHO, which “closely monitors the situation” and does not recommend any travel restrictions with the United Kingdom. United and other countries where cases have been identified.