Over 650 Children Impacted by Mysterious Acute Hepatitis
The World Health Organization (WHO) latest report revealed the number of children impacted by the 'acute hepatitis of unknown etiology' increased by over 100% in May 2022.
Published on May 27, 2022, the WHO's Outbreak at a Glance confirmed 650 probable cases of acute hepatitis of unknown etiology in children had been reported to the WHO from 33 countries in five WHO Regions between April 5th and May 26th.
Furthermore, 99 additional cases are pending classification.
The WHO stated, 'The actual number of cases may be underestimated.'
This data contrasts with the WHO/ECDC May 20th report, when 276 pediatric cases were reported from the European region.
As of yesterday, the WHO stated, 'Based on the working case definition for probable cases, laboratory testing has excluded hepatitis A-E viruses in these children.'
And the 'United Kingdom (UK) has recently observed an increase in adenovirus activity, which is co-circulating with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, though the role of these viruses in the pathogenesis is not yet clear.'
The UK has reported the highest number of cases, with 222.
The WHO also confirmed the following data:
- About 75% of cases are younger than five years of age.
- Of 156 patients with information on hospital admission, 14% were admitted to an intensive care unit.
- Of the 117 cases for which this information was available, 12% have received a liver transplant.
- Serology results for SARS-CoV-2 were only available for a few instances, of which 73% had a positive finding.
- Of the 63 cases with data on COVID-19 vaccination, 84% were unvaccinated. And the overall vaccination status (i.e., hepatitis, MMR, polio) was not disclosed.
- Human-to-human transmission cannot be ruled out as epidemiologically linked cases are confirmed in Scotland and the Netherlands.
- And the WHO did not disclose the COVID-19 vaccination status of these children's families.
'In children with acute hepatitis, the main concern is identifying cases early to ensure optimal case management. While most countries have the capacity for medical treatment of acute hepatitis, this is not true for liver transplantation capacity or intensive support and care for liver failure.'
'Further detailed epidemiological, clinical, laboratory, histopathological and toxicological investigations of the possible cause(s) of these cases are underway by several national authorities, research networks and across different working groups in WHO and with partners,' stated the WHO.
Dr. Renu Bindra, Senior Medical Advisor and Incident Director at the UK's Health Security Agency, said in a media briefing issued on May 27, 2022, "Our investigations continue to suggest an association with adenovirus, and we are exploring this link, along with other possible contributing factors including prior infections such as COVID-19."
"The likelihood of children developing hepatitis remains extremely low."
In the USA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently stated, 'While rare, children can have serious hepatitis, and we don't always know the cause.'
As of May 25, 2022, the CDC announced that 33 states and territories had reported 216 Persons Under Investigation (PUI). A PUI does not mean this person is a confirmed case.
The CDC is reviewing children's cases as of October 2021, so this number may go up or down as more medical charts are reviewed.
In early May, Dr. Jay Butler, the CDC's deputy director for infectious diseases, said during a digital briefing, "We are unaware of cases occurring in kids that have documented COVID-19. But it's a question that I think is still unanswered."
Additional pediatric hepatitis outbreak news is posted at PrecisionVaccinations.com/Acute.
PrecisionVaccinations publishes fact-checked, research-based news curated for mobile readership. Dr. Carlson updated this article for clinical clarity and data sources.
- WHO: Acute hepatitis of unknown aetiology in children - Multi-country
- Multi-Country – Acute, severe hepatitis of unknown origin in children
- CDC:Children with Acute Hepatitis of Unknown Etiology
- CDC Media Telebriefing: Update on Acute Hepatitis of Unknown Cause
- Joint ECDC-WHO Regional Office for Europe Hepatitis of Unknown Origin in Children Surveillance Bulletin
- ACUTE HEPATITIS CASES IN CHILDREN 2022