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WHO says at least one child has died after increase of acute hepatitis cases in children

  • Category
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    4th May, 2022

Context

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.

About

The news:

  • 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.

About Hepatitis:

  • 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.

 

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