Unexplained cases of hepatitis in children have health officials across the globe puzzled and concerned. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control reported that there are at least 191 known cases in the UK, Europe, the US, Canada, Israel, and Japan
The news comes after the UK Health Security Agency released a report on their investigation into the outbreak earlier this week. They reported that their leading hypothesis is that adenovirus infection is linked to the mysterious rise of severe hepatitis cases in children.
Earlier this month World Health Organization (WHO) issued a releaseTrusted Source about the state of the outbreak globally. The WHO reported that the age of the children affected ranged from 1 month to 16 years. At least 17 of the children were so ill that they needed a liver transplant.
UK officials pointed out that an adenovirus infection may be just one part factor that has resulted in the hepatitis outbreak. Of the 111 confirmed hepatitis cases in the UK, 53 of the children were tested for adenovirus. Forty of these children tested positive for the disease. “There may be a cofactor causing a normal adenovirus to produce a more severe clinical
Most of the children involved were under age 5. They presented with gastroenteritis symptoms, meaning the gastrointestinal tract was inflamed, before developing jaundice, which is a sign the liver isn’t functioning properly. The WHO said in their earlier report that the adenovirus hypothesis is being investigated.
Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sent out a nationwide alert for physicians due to the outbreak. They issued a Health Alert Network (HAN) Health Advisory for healthcare providers asking them to be on the lookout for any symptoms of this disease and to report any similar hepatitis cases.