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The Statens Serum Institut reported this week at present, cases of hepatitis without a known cause are seen in children in a number of countries in the world – including Denmark. Three cases have been seen here since December.

“It is more than we would expect. All children have been hospitalized and several have been seriously ill, but fortunately none of them have needed a liver transplant “, says chief physician Anders Koch from the Statens Serum Institut (SSI).

The Danish health authorities have now launched an extended monitoring of the unexplained cases.

“Normally we keep an eye on hepatitis caused by certain viruses – for example hepatitis A. But now we have some children with liver damage, which we do not really know what is causing.”

“Therefore, we have now expanded the monitoring, so that the National Board of Health and SSI together with the pediatricians – including not least the pediatricians – keep an eye on and register such cases,” says Anders Koch.

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Although SSI is aware of the situation both in Denmark and internationally and is following developments closely, Anders Koch does not believe that there is cause for concern.

“Even if it is a specific cause and not sporadic cases, the risk of the individual child being affected by this rare form of hepatitis is still incredibly small.”

As a parent, you must behave as you usually do when your child becomes ill and seek medical attention if you are worried about the child’s condition. The typical, obvious symptoms of hepatitis are whitish stools, very dark urine and yellowing of the eyes and skin. Before that, you will typically have pronounced fatigue, decreased appetite, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain or muscle and joint pain “, says Anders Koch.

Looking for the cause

At the same time, people continue to look for the cause of the unexplained cases of hepatitis.

Here, England has taken the lead because most cases so far have been registered here. But the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) is also working to find the cause.

The investigation work also takes place in the individual countries. In Denmark at the pediatricians in collaboration with the National Board of Health and SSI.

UK update: 34 additional sudden onset hepatitis cases in children reported

Acute hepatitis of unknown origin cases reported in Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Spain

Israel the latest country to report cases of children with acute hepatitis for an unknown reason

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