Public-health Authorities in US, UK, Probe Mysterious Cases Of Severe Hepatitis In Young Kids: WSJ

  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with public-health officials in Alabama to probe the cause of nine cases of hepatitis in children ages 1 to 6 years old reported in the state since October, reports Wall Street Journal.
  • In the U.K., public-health authorities have been looking into 108 cases since January, all in children ages 10 and younger. 
  • Of the 108 cases, eight have required a transplant, the UKHSA said. According to the state's public health department, two of the nine cases in Alabama needed a transplant. As of April 11, no deaths had been reported, the World Health Organization said.
  • According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, cases have also been reported in Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Spain.
  • Hepatitis, or inflammation of the liver, is very rare in children. 
  • The children in the U.K. tested negative for known hepatitis viruses. One possible cause, according to the U.K. Health Security Agency is an infection by a type of adenovirus. The U.S. CDC said all nine cases in Alabama tested positive for adenovirus.
  • Although adenovirus infection has become the leading theory, the UKHSA and Public Health Scotland are still investigating other potential causes, such as the coronavirus detected in some of the recent hepatitis cases. 
  • Other possible sources include other infections or noninfectious causes.
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