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January 31, 2023
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First Case of Unusual Hepatitis in Romania

The first case of acute hepatitis of unknown origin in children has been found In Romania. This is the last of many countries which reported the new type of hepatitis.

The first case of acute hepatitis of unknown cause affecting youngsters has been recorded in Romania. In 11 nations, 169 similar incidents were reported. According to the WHO, at least one child died from severe hepatitis, and 17 children required a liver transplant, according to a CNN report.

The countries that recorded cases as of April 23 are Great Britain and Northern Ireland (114 cases), Spain (13), Israel (12), the United States of America (9), Denmark (6), Ireland (5), The Netherlands (4), Italy (4), Norway (2), France (2), Romania (1), and Belgium (1).

 Distribution of cases of acute severe hepatitis of unknown origin by country
Photo source: WHO website

Liver insufficiency, often severe, high levels of enzymes indicating hepatic cytolysis, and jaundice were all present in these instances. In 74 cases, the presence of adenovirus F41 (human adenovirus, causing mortality in young children) was discovered.

Most children infected with adenovirus will not become ill, according to experts. Hepatitis, or inflammation of the liver, is extremely rare, yet it can be deadly.

It is not yet clear whether there has been an increase in hepatitis or an increase in awareness of hepatitis cases that occur at the expected rate but are not detected. Although an adenovirus is a hypothesis, investigations are underway to determine the cause.

WHO statement

According to the Romanian Ministry of Health, a 5-year-old girl from the Bucharest-Ilfov area was taken to a specialized hospital on April 4 with severe acute hepatitis.

The child’s condition is stable, he is receiving symptomatic medication and is still hospitalized. The child has not traveled abroad and has no epidemiological link to another case reported to WHO Europe. The report was based on the WHO definition of a probable case, which refers to liver failure, transaminases> 500 IU, and jaundice in a child with no markers of hepatic viral infection. We are making these clarifications in order to inform the public and to eliminate the speculations that could cause concern among parents in Romania.

Romanian Ministry of Health

According to the WHO statement, the clinical syndrome “among the identified cases is acute hepatitis (liver inflammation) with significantly increased liver enzymes.” GI symptoms such as abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, and vomiting “preceded by severe acute hepatitis,” as well as increased liver enzymes, were observed by several patients. The majority of cases did not report fever, and common viruses that cause acute viral hepatitis, such as hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E, were not discovered in any of these instances.

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