In Europe, alarm for acute hepatitis of unknown origin, affecting children under the age of 10, is spreading with forms so severe as to cause organ failure in some cases. After Scotland, England and Spain, new cases have been reported in Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands and the US. The European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Ecdc) has been updated, reiterating its call for “reports and information sharing”. While the investigation continues to shed light on the cause, no cases have yet been reported in Italy, but the level of attention has been raised.
An increase in cases of acute and severe liver inflammation of unknown origin in healthy children was first reported in Scotland on 5 April. Britain’s Health Protection Agency reported on 12 April that, in addition to them, there were additional cases under investigation in England, leading to more than 60 cases reported abroad. Most involved children aged 2 to 5 years and some required liver transplantation, which is very rare in this age group. The next day 3 cases were reported in Spain. The latest reports come from Denmark, the Netherlands and Ireland, while cases in the United Kingdom have risen to 74 (49 in England, 13 in Scotland, 12 in Wales). But the alarm extends beyond Europe, with nine children affected in Alabama, United States. There is no official count, but the cases seem to have jumped to almost a hundred in total in just two months.
Currently, the exact cause remains unknown. An infectious origin is considered most likely, but cases not related to known viral hepatitis, such as A, B, C, E. Among the hypotheses, there is a link with COVID-19 or other types of viral infections, such as adenovirus, given that both viruses have been found in a small number of patients. While no link to the Kovid-19 vaccine has been identified. The investigation is ongoing and the ECDC is working closely with WHO to support the investigation.
Meanwhile, the level of attention is rising in Italy. The Regional Infectious Disease Surveillance Service (Seresmi) of the Spallanzani Institute has sent an update of communications forwarded by the Ministry of Health on the ECDC report to all structures of the Regional Health Service. “In our region – says the Lazio Region Health Counselor, Alessio D’Amato – No cases have been reported so far, but the level of attention has been raised in any case since Thursday of last week, with a circular from the Department of Health, combining all the frameworks of the network into the recommended diagnostic algorithm Provides with the state of children with acute hepatitis and requests to report cases, except those diagnosed with hepatitis A to E. “The most common symptoms are yellowing of the skin and sclera of the eyes, pain in the upper right side of the abdomen, nausea and it retracts.
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