348 probable hepatitis cases reported globally in children, young people: WHO doctor

Cases reported from five different regions, says Philippa Easterbrook

Peter Kenny   | 10.05.2022
348 probable hepatitis cases reported globally in children, young people: WHO doctor


There are now 348 probable cases of acute hepatitis of unknown origin in children and young people globally, a World Health Organization doctor said on Tuesday.

To a question from Anadolu Agency at a WHO press webinar, Philippa Easterbrook said that there are cases from five different regions.

"I think it's important to highlight that there are six countries only at present where they are reporting more than five cases; for all the remainder of the countries, it is less than five cases," said Easterbrook.

The hepatitis, an inflation of the liver, had raised speculation in the medical arena that the cases could be triggered by a new strain of adenovirus or even COVID-19.

"At present, the leading hypothesis remains those which involve adenovirus, but I think there is also still an important consideration, about the role of COVID as well, either as a co-infection or as a past infection," said the WHO doctor.

Britain first reported an unexpected significant increase in cases of severe acute hepatitis of unknown origin in young, generally previously healthy children.

Many cases reported gastrointestinal symptoms, including abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting preceding presentation with severe acute hepatitis.

The common viruses that cause acute viral hepatitis (hepatitis viruses A, B, C, D, and E) have not been detected in any of these cases.

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