Due to the recent announcement from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control about the increased incidence of acute hepatitis among young children of unknown etymology, Liver Patients’ International is constantly monitoring the situation and will share more as it becomes available. We advise our members to share the information to reach as many people as possible. If you have any questions or need any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.
An increase in severe acute hepatitis cases of unknown aetiology among previously healthy children was first reported by the United Kingdom, followed by the United States and other countries with nearly 180 cases so far. The clinical picture is of severe acute hepatitis requiring hospitalisation with jaundice and markedly elevated liver transaminases, vomiting, diarrhoea, and nausea. Testing had excluded viral hepatitis types A, B, C, D and E and other known causes of acute hepatitis. So far, most patients for whom information is available have recovered, but a number have progressed to acute liver failure and required liver transplantation.
Detailed epidemiological and laboratory investigations of the cases are still ongoing to help determine the underlying aetiology. Cases have been tested for a range of different infectious causes, and the most common pathogens found were adenovirus and SARS-CoV-2. In England and Scotland, 75.5% and 50% of cases respectively tested positive for adenovirus. As the aetiology still remains unknown, effective control measures cannot be defined at this stage. Faecal-oral exposure to viruses such as adenoviruses is more likely for young children. ECDC therefore recommends reinforcing general good hygienic practices (including careful hand hygiene, cleaning and disinfection of surfaces) in settings attended by young children.