The public health authority has received reports of nine suspected cases of inflammation in the liver, acute hepatitis, with an unknown cause in children. The Swedish Public Health Agency urges caregivers to be aware of cases of acute hepatitis, especially in children, where the cause of the disease is not clear.
The current cases that have been reported to the Swedish Public Health Agency, and which the Swedish Public Health Agency has reported to the European Communicable Diseases Control Agency ECDC, are a form of acute hepatitis but without a known cause. The cases have fallen ill during the period November 2021 to April 2022 and are spread across the country. Similar cases have been reported from the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands, Denmark, the United States and Japan, among others.
– That a child suffers from acute hepatitis with an unknown cause is very unusual but does occur. The Swedish Public Health Agency is investigating whether the cases we see now represent an increase in acute hepatitis with an unknown cause or not, says state epidemiologist Anders Lindblom.
The development is closely monitored by the World Health Organization WHO and by the authorities responsible for infection control in the member countries, in Sweden the Swedish Public Health Agency. The cases are investigated to see if there is anything in common that can explain the cause of the disease.
– The Swedish Public Health Agency has informed healthcare in Sweden about the development to draw attention to patients with symptoms that need to be investigated as a suspected case of hepatitis with an unknown cause, says state epidemiologist Anders Lindblom.
The main hypothesis is that this is an adenovirus infection, but it has not yet been established. Adenovirus is a large group of viruses that can cause both respiratory and intestinal infections. Infection with adenovirus is common, but serious infections are very rare.
There are different variants of virus-induced hepatitis, they are called from A to E and have mainly in common that they give symptoms from the liver that manifest themselves in different ways.
In cases of hepatitis, it is investigated whether it is caused by any of the known viruses that give rise to hepatitis, primarily hepatitis A, B, C and E (hepatitis D occurs only together with hepatitis B), but in children also EBV (Epstein- Coniferous virus) and CMV (Cytomegalovirus). In addition, there are hepatitis that is caused by other infections, but also by toxins and autoimmune reactions, that is, the immune system reacts incorrectly and attacks the body.
Symptoms of hepatitis with unknown cause may be yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice). The reported cases have sometimes also been vomiting, diarrhea, pale stools and nausea.
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