Infantile hepatitis: 33 countries affected, nine children dead … The epidemic continues to hit

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Cases of childhood hepatitis of unknown origin are increasing worldwide. In just one month, hundreds of children were affected by the disease, nine died and 38 had to receive a transplant. The health authorities take the matter very seriously. Where are we today?

614 a few days ago, 650 today … Cases or suspicions of acute childhood hepatitis are increasing worldwide. This inflammation of the liver, which particularly affects children, is of increasing concern to the scientific community as evidence of its origin is being studied.

At a time when certain people are being accused of SARS-CoV 2, the virus responsible for Covid-19, or an adenovirus, such as the origin of the epidemic, the WHO is saying: “Today, where is the spread of the epidemic and how dangerous is this virus?”

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33 countries concerned

Particularly alarmed by the spread of cases of childhood hepatitis, the WHO has issued a special report to indicate what is known about the virus. “Between April 5 and May 26, 2022, 650 probable cases of acute hepatitis of unknown etiology in children were reported to WHO by 33 countries,” the international agency said. The speed with which the cases are multiplying is quite remarkable. In just over a month, the epidemic has spread phenomenally.

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Alas, Europe is one of the hardest hit areas. “The majority of reported cases come from the European Region, 22 countries concerned with 222 cases for the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland,” the WHO continues. In France, “two possible cases have been reported and 4 are under investigation,” according to Santé Publique France.

Nine children died

In addition to the widespread spread, this epidemic of childhood hepatitis poses a serious danger to affected children. “Of the 650 probable cases, at least 38 children (6%) required a transplant and nine deaths were reported (1%),” the WHO continues. Of all the cases, almost 75% concern children under the age of five.

Even today, it is difficult to establish the origin of these acute hepatitis. After some searches, the health authorities are still able to move away from the tracks and favor others. “Laboratory tests ruled out hepatitis A and E viruses in these children. SARS-CoV-2 and / or adenovirus have been detected in a number of cases,” the WHO said.

Research is intensifying

Faced with the gravity of the situation, the WHO and some partners have stepped up their search for the disease. “Responses to clinical and public health incidents have often been active in the affected regions,” the world organization said. Investigations have also opened up in a more targeted and smaller scale. Objective: “to include a more detailed history of exposure, toxicological tests and additional virological / microbiological tests”.

The issue is being taken seriously by WHO Care “closely supports the situation and supports international coordination in collaboration with Member States and partners”.

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