(CTN News) – More than 1,300 children in 37 countries have developed acute severe hepatitis of unknown etiology since April 2022, with 65% of global cases occurring in the United States and United Kingdom.
As a result of the outbreak, most children younger than 10 years of age have been affected by diarrhea and vomiting. This is often accompanied by jaundice, abdominal pain, nausea, and malaise.
Some cases require liver transplantation due to acute liver failure.
There have been no common food or drink exposures among these cases, suggesting a viral infection.
In spite of the fact that none of the children were infected with hepatitis A, B, C, D, or E, adenovirus infection has been repeatedly implicated — based on early reports of positive tests – and follow-up studies have revealed that fewer than half have been diagnosed with adenovirus.
SARS-CoV-2 infection or COVID-19 vaccination have not been linked to the outbreak, and the cause of the outbreak remains unknown.
We have closely followed the development of this outbreak since the initial WHO alert in April, and have compiled a timeline of our coverage.
Based on data gathered and analyzed by Healio and articles written by its journalists, this timeline illustrates what global health experts still do not know about the puzzling hepatitis outbreak.
At least 169 severe, acute hepatitis cases have been reported from a dozen countries worldwide, according to WHO.
According to WHO, 17 children have received liver transplants as a result of this disease. 114 cases have been reported in the United Kingdom as of April 21, followed by Spain (13), Israel (12), the United States (9), Denmark (6), Ireland (<5), the Netherlands (4), Italy (4), Norway (2), France (2), Romania (1) and Belgium (1).
About children’s hepatitis outbreak, expert says ‘the search for answers continues’
More questions than answers remain as the WHO investigates an outbreak of severe, acute hepatitis among children 1 month to 16 years old.
John W. Ward, MD, director of the Coalition for Global Hepatitis Elimination, a program launched by the Task Force for Global Health, talks about the outbreak and adenovirus.
This virus has been cited as a possible culprit.
The CDC says adenovirus should be considered in diagnosing acute hepatitis in kids
According to a report in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, several cases of acute, severe hepatitis in Alabama provided additional evidence that adenovirus might be linked to the illness.
“This cluster, combined with recently discovered cases in Europe, suggests that adenovirus should be considered in the differential diagnosis of acute hepatitis among kids,” Julia M. Baker, PhD, an epidemic intelligence service officer at the CDC National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, and colleagues wrote.
It’s important for doctors and lab people to know that the sensitivity of adenovirus tests differ depending on the specimen type. Whole blood tests may be more sensitive than plasma tests.