WHO says at least one child has died after increase of acute hepatitis cases in children
Science & Technology
4th May, 2022
The World Health Organization recently said that at least one child death had been reported following an increase of acute hepatitis of unknown origin in children.
- The WHO issued the figures as health authorities around the world investigate a mysterious increase in severe cases of hepatitis - inflammation of the liver – in young children.
- At least 169 cases had been reported in children in 12 countries including in the UK, US, Spain, Israel, and Ireland - among youngsters aged from one month to 16 years.
- The UK has reported 114 of the cases.
- Scientists currently believe that an adenovirus, a common type of virus that can cause common colds, could be behind the wave of acute hepatitis cases.
- At least 74 of the children who are affected have tested positive for adenovirus
- COVID-19 infection was identified in 20 of those tested and
- 19 cases were detected with a COVID-19 and adenovirus co-infection.
- Concern: The cases are more unusual because they are not linked to any of the five typical strains of the virus – hepatitis A, B, C, D and E.
- Symptoms: Hepatitis symptoms include dark urine, yellowing of the eyes and skin, sickness, fatigue, fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, light-coloured stools and joint pain.
- There is no specific treatment for hepatitis but drugs like steroids can help, as well as medicines to treat the symptoms.
- Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver that is usually caused by a viral infection or liver damage from drinking alcohol.
- Short-term hepatitis often has no noticeable symptoms.
- But if some develop they can include dark urine, pale grey-coloured poo, itchy skin and yellowing of the eyes and skin.
- They can also include muscle and joint pain, a high temperature, feeling and being sick and being unusually tired all of the time.
- When hepatitis is spread by a virus, it's usually caused by consuming food and drink contaminated with the faeces of an infected person or blood-to-blood or sexual contact.