A child has died, and several have needed liver transplants after The World Health Organisation said that there have been over 160 cases of “acute hepatitis of [an] unknown origin”.
The organisation has detailed that people diagnosed were aged between one month and 16 years old with cases found in over 12 countries. Majority of the illnesses were confirmed in the UK while other countries included Denmark, the Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, France Norway, Belgium, and Romania.
11 children in the US were found to have hepatitis with WHO saying, “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”. WHO detailed that 74 cases also had a common cold virus known as adenovirus while 20 had a COVID-19 infection and 19 had both the adenovirus and COVID-19.
Australian health authorities told News.com.au that there have been no known cases in Australia but that experts are keeping a close eye on the situation. US and British officials have sent out a warning to doctors detailing what they need to look out for.
Doctors listed a range of symptoms for parents to be aware of including increased liver enzymes, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, vomiting and severe acute hepatitis plus jaundice. Acute hepatitis is caused by a viral infection in which the liver becomes inflamed and is usually contracted by direct contact with the illness according to Health Direct.
Australians generally contract the disease overseas. Several outbreaks within Australia have been connected to the importation of frozen berries.
WHO is doing further investigations into the cause but has said that there is no need for restrictions on travel and trade in these countries, especially the UK.