Eight additional countries report mysterious hepatitis in children
The World Health Organization has confirmed that eight more countries have reported cases of mystery hepatitis in children.
Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that one child had died from a mysterious strain of acute hepatitis that was recorded in 12 nations.
A week later, the WHO identified eight new instances of the strain.
The overall number of nations affected now stands at 20. Globally, 228 children have been diagnosed with a unique kind of liver illness, with another 50 suspected instances being investigated.
WHO Spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic told reporters in Geneva that "as of May 1, at least 228 probable cases were reported to WHO from 20 countries, with over 50 additional cases under investigation."
There has been one verified fatality, although four more are suspected, and 18 youngsters have required a liver transplant.
According to experts, the current total might be the "tip of the iceberg," with several countries only now ramping up surveillance for the rare issue.
So far, the majority of cases have been found in Europe, although there have also been reports from the Americas, the Western Pacific, and Southeast Asia.
Scientists are perplexed by the rash of cases because none of the youngsters tested positive for regular hepatitis-causing viruses.
Despite seldom causing liver inflammation, adenoviruses, which generally cause the common cold and stomach infections, are likely to be the culprit.
There are fears that lockdowns have damaged children's immunity to generally harmless infections, and investigations are underway.
Scientists from the UK have revealed answers may take at least 3 months.
The UK has 145 cases while the US has 20.
Cases have been discovered in Austria, Germany, Poland, Japan, and Canada, while Singapore is investigating a probable case in a 10-month-old.
One death was previously revealed, although the location is unknown, and one death in the US is being investigated, while 3 deaths have been reported in Indonesia.
The 145 afflicted children in the United Kingdom, most of whom were aged five and under, initially had diarrhea and nausea, followed by jaundice – yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes.
The WHO was originally notified of the instances by health officials in Scotland on April 5, after they discovered ten cases in children under the age of ten, the first of which was discovered in January.
This was higher than the seven to eight non-A to E hepatitis cases that Scotland typically records in a year.
The director of clinical and emerging infections at UKHSA, Dr. Meera Chand, stated that the chance a child will develop hepatitis is "extremely low".
"However, we continue to remind parents to be alert to the signs of hepatitis – particularly jaundice, which is easiest to spot as a yellow tinge in the whites of the eyes – and contact your doctor if you are concerned," she reminded.
Hepatitis in children is uncommon, but specialists have seen more instances in the UK since January than they would ordinarily anticipate in a year.
Three months for answers
Professor Alastair Sutcliffe, a pediatrician at University College in London, told MailOnline that "with modern methods, informatics, advanced computing, real-time PCR and whole-genome screening, I would think finding the cause with some reasonable reliability will take three months."
It is extremely difficult to search for an unknown cause since instances may have several characteristics that are not consistent across different diseases.
Officials in the UK have ruled out the Covid vaccination as a likely culprit, owing to the fact that none of the afflicted British infants were vaccinated.
According to an official with the European Centre for Condition Prevention and Control (ECDC), the disease is "quite rare", but the risk to youngsters is "high" due to the potential consequences.
The danger to European children cannot be correctly estimated since the evidence for human-to-human transmission was ambiguous, and instances in the European Union were sporadic with an unknown pattern, the report revealed.
However, given the disease's unknown etiology and the probable severity of the sickness, the ECDC declared the outbreak a "public health event of concern."