Perspective from Kadakkal Radhakrishnan, MD
Source:

Multi-Country – Acute, severe hepatitis of unknown origin in children. https://www.who.int/emergencies/disease-outbreak-news/item/2022-DON376. Published April 23, 2022. Accessed April 26, 2022.



April 26, 2022
1 min read
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Mystery outbreak of severe hepatitis in children prompts worldwide surveillance

Perspective from Kadakkal Radhakrishnan, MD
Source:

Multi-Country – Acute, severe hepatitis of unknown origin in children. https://www.who.int/emergencies/disease-outbreak-news/item/2022-DON376. Published April 23, 2022. Accessed April 26, 2022.



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The WHO has reported at least 169 cases of severe, acute hepatitis in children aged 1 month to 16 years from a dozen countries worldwide, according to a statement from the organization.

According to WHO, one child has died and 17 children have received liver transplantation as a result of the disease. As of April 21, 114 cases have been reported in the United Kingdom, followed by Spain (13), Israel (12), the United States (9), Denmark (6), Ireland (<5), the Netherlands (4), Italy (4), Norway (2), France (2), Romania (1) and Belgium (1).

HGI0422WHO_Graphic_01
Symptoms correlated with the outbreak in children include abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting, which may advance to severe, acute hepatitis. Source: Adobe Stock

Symptoms associated with the outbreak include abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting, which may advance to severe, acute hepatitis with elevated liver enzymes and jaundice.

Adenovirus has been detected in at least 74 cases, and of those, the F type 41 was identified in 18 who underwent molecular testing. In addition, SARS-CoV-2 was identified in 20 cases, and 19 cases were diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 and adenovirus co-infection.

“It is not yet clear if there has been an increase in hepatitis cases, or an increase in awareness of hepatitis cases that occur at the expected rate but go undetected,” the WHO said in the statement. “While adenovirus is a possible hypothesis, investigations are ongoing for the causative agent.”

The WHO is pursuing further examination in countries with reported cases, which includes detailed clinical and exposure histories, toxicology testing and additional virological and microbiological tests. Affected countries have enhanced surveillance activities as well.