Cases of childhood hepatitis, of unknown origin and already identified in the UK, have been detected in four other European countries, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Disease Control (ECDC) announced on Tuesday 19 April.
“Following the cases of acute hepatitis of unknown origin reported by the UK Health Authority [au début d’avril]other cases in children have been reported from Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands and Spain.”, the European Agency said in a press release. Nine suspected cases were also identified in children aged 1 to 6 in Alabama, United States, according to the ECDC.
“Investigations continue in all countries reporting cases. At this time, the exact cause of hepatitis is still unknown.”writes the ECDC, but the British investigators “on the basis of the clinical and epidemiological characteristics of the cases, consider an infectious cause to be the most likely”.
No “case excess in France”
In France, after the launch of a “Active case finding”, “Two cases of acute hepatitis, the etiology of which is not yet clear, have been reported by the University Hospital of Lyon” in children under 10 years and “are being researched”said the France Public Health Agency, interviewed by Agence France-Presse (AFP).
“Cases of acute hepatitis of undetermined etiology in children are not uncommon. The occurrence of these two cases is not unexpected and does not reflect an excess of cases in France at this time.we added from the same source and judged “Further reports to be expected in the coming days” given the active research that has been started.
On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said it was expecting new reports in the coming days and had already reported “less than five” cases in Ireland and three in Spain. At the request of AFP, the ECDC was not able to provide the number of cases by country.
No deaths, signs of jaundice in UK
No deaths were recorded, but some UK cases required liver transplants. “Laboratory studies of the cases excluded viral hepatitis types A, B, C, D and E in all cases”according to the ECDC.
The UK originally reported ten cases of severe hepatitis in Scotland to the WHO on April 5, before reporting a total of seventy-four cases three days later, according to the UN body. Among the British cases ” a lot (…) showed signs of jaundice”.
“Some of the cases have presented gastrointestinal symptoms including abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting in the preceding weeks”according to the ECDC.