Tuesday 5/17/22
HEALTH ALERT

Number of cases of unknown child hepatitis in Spain rises to 13

The mysterious disease has already affected children and adolescents in 12 countries and has claimed the first fatality
Minister of Health Carolina Darias speaks at a press conference after the meeting of the Council of Ministers. Photo: La Moncloa.
Minister of Health Carolina Darias speaks at a press conference after the meeting of the Council of Ministers. Photo: La Moncloa/File photo.

The mysterious outbreak of hepatitis (liver inflammation) of unknown origin that has been affecting children since the beginning of this year continues to spread throughout the world.

And Spain, with 13 cases found in different regions, is already the second country that to date has reported more cases, only behind the United Kingdom.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Saturday that to date at least 169 cases of acute hepatitis of unknown origin have been detected in 12 countries. According to the WHO, the disease has so far claimed the life of a minor.

According to figures released by the WHO, as of April 21, acute cases of the new childhood hepatitis of unknown origin had been reported in the United Kingdom (114), Spain (13), Israel (12), the United States (9), Denmark (6 ), Ireland (less than 5), the Netherlands (4), Italy (4), Norway (2), France (2), Romania (1) and Belgium (1).

The international organization has published the figures while health authorities around the world are investigating the mysterious outbreak.

Patients are mainly young children, although cases have also been discovered among adolescents. According to the WHO, there are minors affected between one month of age and up to 16 years of age.

Liver transplant

The WHO has not disclosed the country of origin or the age of the child who has died. What is known is that 17 of those affected have needed a liver transplant. This has also occurred in one of the cases diagnosed in Spain.

As for the possible causes, the WHO explains that the common cold virus - known as adenovirus - has been detected in at least 74 cases and the virus that causes the Covid-19 disease in about 20 cases. Both pathologies have been diagnosed in 19 patients.

However, the health agency explains that, although the adenovirus is currently a hypothesis as the underlying cause, "it does not fully explain the severity of the clinical picture."

Health authorities have been calling on parents and guardians to be vigilant for signs of hepatitis, including jaundice or yellowing of the eyes and skin, abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting. Other possible symptoms of liver disease can be dark urine, itchy skin, muscle pain, loss of appetite.

Number of cases of unknown child hepatitis in Spain rises to 13
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