The United Kingdom is investigating at least 74 cases of mysterious liver disease while the United States has reported 9 similar cases only from Alabama, making it an emerging cause of concern as the illness is not being explained by known causes. This mystery liver illness attacking only children has been brought to the notice of the World Health Organization early this month, news agency AP reported.
Apart from the UK and the US, Spain and Ireland are also investigating a few similar cases, the report said. “Given the increase in cases reported over the past one month and enhanced case search activities, more cases are likely to be reported in the coming days,” WHO officials said in a statement.
Though no death due to this liver disease has been reported yet, six cases were so severe that they needed liver transplants.
What is this mystery disease? What are the symptoms?
1. Children between the age of 1 to 6 years old have been the target of the disease.
2. The symptoms are general liver diseases like hepatitis or liver inflammation but the cause remains unknown. Jaundice, diarrhoea and abdominal pain have been reported.
3. According to reports, the disease might be related to some kind of virus usually associated with colds.
4. The disease has been so far reported to be severe. Though no children died so far in the US, UK, six children needed liver transplants.
5. Laboratory testing has ruled out the hepatitis type A, B, C and E viruses that usually cause such illnesses. The role of international travel, if any, is not yet known.
6. Some of the European children tested positive for adenovirus, and some tested positive for Covid-19, the WHO said.
7. According to reports, the UK reported an uptick in severe hepatitis among children since January. Alabama said it noticed the rise since last year November.
(With agency inputs)