The WHO is still searching for the origin of the hepatitis epidemic, which continues to spread

According to the WHO, these cases of unexplained hepatitis have been identified in 20 countries. A total of 70 other suspected cases, identified in 13 countries, are waiting to be confirmed by tests.

Only six countries have more than five cases, but the UK alone has reported 160 patients.

Significant progress has been made with regard to further investigations and the refinement of working hypotheses“Philippa Easterbrook of the WHO Global Hepatitis Program said at a press conference.

Britain has coordinated a series of studies looking at affected children’s genes, immune response, viruses and other epidemiological studies, she said.

The United Kingdom initially reported ten cases of severe hepatitis in children under the age of ten in Scotland on April 5 to the WHO.

In the United States, health officials said Friday they are investigating 109 similar cases, including five deaths. Three children also died in Indonesia.

Next week we will focus on serological testing for previous Covid exposure and infection

At present, the main hypotheses remain those concerning the adenovirus, also important to consider the role of Covid, either as a co-infection or as a previous infection.‘ said Ms. Easterbrook.

Tests conducted last week confirmed about 70% of cases were positive for adenovirus, with subtype 41 – usually associated with gastroenteritis – being the most common, she added.

Adenoviruses are usually spread through personal contact, respiratory droplets, and surfaces. They are known to cause breathing difficulties, conjunctivitis, or indigestion.

The tests also showed that around 18% of the patients were positive for Covid-19.

Next week we will focus on serological testing for previous Covid exposure and infection‘ said Ms. Easterbrook.

After the discovery of the first 169 cases, the WHO stated that none of the patients had been found to have hepatitis A, B, C, D and E viruses.

Most patients presented with gastrointestinal symptoms, including abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting or jaundice. Some cases have caused liver failure and required a transplant.

With AFP

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