Brussels admits outbreak of acute hepatitis in children is ‘worrying’


The European Commissioner for Health admitted today, in Brussels, that the outbreak of cases of acute hepatitis of unknown origin in children “is a worrying situation”, which “the European Union is following very closely”.

During a press conference dedicated to the covid-19 pandemic, Stella Kyriakides, asked about the cases of acute hepatitis, took the “opportunity to reiterate the appeal already made by the ECDC [Centro Europeu de Prevenção e Controlo de Doenças] in the sense that Member States share all the information”, so that Brussels can “really monitor the situation very closely”.

Pointing out that, as of April 25, the EU already had “about 40 confirmed cases in 12 Member States”, to which more than a hundred in the United Kingdom are added, the commissioner said that it is also the responsibility of the Commission, in matters related to public health, “to be in contact with all authorities”, and stressed that “ECDC is working together with WHO [Organização Mundial de Saúde] and Member States to gather all the information”.

According to the European Commissioner for Health, “the cases seem to affect children between one month and 16 years old”, and in some cases there was a need for a liver transplant.

“From what we have seen, and this is supported by the UK, the most likely source appears to be viral, probably some type of adenovirus, but as ECDC said more information is needed and ECDC is working on a risk assessment which will be published tomorrow [quinta-feira]”, pointed out.

On Tuesday, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control indicated that it is analyzing the cases reported in several countries of acute hepatitis of unknown origin in children and that it expected to publish a rapid risk assessment on Thursday.

At a press conference during which she provided an update on the latest developments in infectious diseases in the European Union, ECDC Director Andrea Ammon began precisely by addressing the recent cases of “acute hepatitis of unknown origin in previously healthy children” .

Noting that “the UK was the first country to issue an alert, in early April, having since reported more than 100 cases”, and that “after this alert, more countries have reported cases, including 10 countries in the EU, but also Israel and the United States”, Ammon stressed that many of the cases were of severe hepatitis and several progressed to acute liver failure, which required liver transplants, “which shows the seriousness of the condition”.

“Investigations are continuing in all countries, but at the moment, the cause of this hepatitis remains unknown. Usual hepatitis A to E is excluded, and national health authorities are looking at possible causes,” he said, refusing to speculate on the origin of these cases until more data is available.

On Sunday, the WHO announced that a child had died from the mysterious outbreak of liver disease that is affecting children in Europe and the United States, without revealing in which country the death occurred.

Experts say the cases could be linked to a virus usually associated with colds (adenovirus), but investigations are ongoing.

“Although adenovirus is a possible hypothesis, investigations are ongoing for the causal agent”, says the WHO, noting that the virus was detected in at least 74 of the cases.

The outbreak “of unknown origin”, which was announced by the WHO on April 15, causes inflammation of the liver and “in many cases”, gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting, and elevation of liver enzymes.


Source: Expresso by expresso.pt.

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