In seven countries of the Americas, to date thirty-three cases of hepatitis serious child and without known cause, among the more than 400 registered in the world, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) indicated on Wednesday.
Until now No mortality or transplantation in children for this cause has been reported to PAHO in any country”said a PAHO spokeswoman. “By ‘probable case’ we mean a case in which infection with hepatitis A, B, C and E viruses has been ruled out, and other conditions are met,” she explained.
Focus efforts on investigating cases
PAHO, the regional office of the World Health Organization (WHO), did not specify which American countries reported cases of this rare disease that affects young children. But two North American countries reported in recent days that they are investigating suspected cases of this type: Mexico said Tuesday reviewing 21 cases, and the United States said on Friday it was reviewing 109 cases, including five deaths.
The WHO was first informed on April 5 of a dozen unexplained cases of hepatitis in Scotland, detected in children under 10 years of age. As of May 15, The WHO had a record of 429 probable cases of this type in 22 countries around the world, nine of them in Europe.
Six children have died so far in the world from this disease and 26 require transplants, he said. Many cases reported jaundice and gastrointestinal symptoms, including abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting.“It may take some time before we can really establish the mechanisms of causality,” Enrique Pérez, PAHO’s head of Information on Health Emergencies and Risk Assessment, told a news conference on Wednesday.
Pérez said that PAHO works with the countries in the region “to focus its efforts on investigating suspected cases,” for which he proposed a standardized form to guide investigations.
One of the main hypotheses of the WHO is the link between the coronavirus and the type 41 adenovirus, a common cause of diarrhea in children worldwide. Experts estimate that a COVID infection may have remained in the children’s intestines and a subsequent adenovirus infection would have triggered an immune response and caused inflammation.