Acute hepatitis in children, concern growing in Europe

In Europe, acute hepatitis is on the rise of unknown origin, which affects children under the age of ten, and in some cases is severe enough to cause organ failure. After those in Scotland, England and Spain, new cases were reported in Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands and the USA. The European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) has been updated, reiterating its call for “information to be reported and shared”. As investigations continue to shed light on the causes, No cases have been reported in Italy at the momentBut the level of interest is rising.

increase in cases acute hepatitis Of unknown origin among healthy children For the first time on April 5 in Scotland. Then the UK’s Health Security Agency reported on April 12 that in addition to these cases, additional cases were under investigation in England, raising more than 60 cases reported abroad. It included most of the children between the ages of 2 and 5 years and some of them needed a liver transplant, which is very rare in this age group. The next day, 3 cases were reported in Spain. The latest reports came from Denmark, the Netherlands and Ireland, while cases in the UK rose to 74 (49 in England, 13 in Scotland, 12 in Wales). But the warning also extends beyond Europe, With 9 affected children in Alabama, United States. There is no official count of cases, but the total appears to have reached about a hundred in just over two months.

At present, the exact cause is still unknown. Infectious origin is thought to be the most likely but the cases are not related to known viral hepatitis, such as A, B, C and E. Among the hypotheses, there is an association with Covid-19 or with other forms of viral infection, such as adenovirus, given that it has been Both viruses were found in some young patients. While No connection to the Covid-19 vaccine has been identified. Investigations are ongoing and the center is working with the World Health Organization to support the investigation.

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Meanwhile, the level of interest in Italy is rising. The Regional Infectious Disease Surveillance Service (Seresmi) of the Spallanzani Institute has sent all structures of the regional health services an update of the communications transmitted by the Ministry of Health on the ECDC reports. “In our area – says the Lazio Region Health Adviser, Alessio D’Amato – no case has been reported so far, but in any case since Thursday last week, with a circular from the Ministry of Health, high level of attention, provide all facilities in the network with the diagnostic algorithm recommended in the UK and request the reporting of cases of children with acute hepatitis, with the exception of diagnoses of hepatitis A through E. Eyes, pain in the upper right side of the abdomen, nausea and vomiting.

Phil Schwartz

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