The World Health Organization (WHO) has said the increase in the number of cases of acute hepatitis in children of unknown origin is an “extremely urgent” issue for which the body is giving it an “absolute priority”.
“It is a very urgent matter, we are giving absolute priority to this and working closely with the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control in management and coordination,” said the Regional Director of Emergencies on Monday (2) in Lisbon. From the World Health Organization, Gerald Rockenshap.
The specialist based in Portugal for the Universal Health and Preparedness Review (UHPR) – a program to share resources between countries to prepare responses to public health emergencies – explained that many countries were alerted to “stay more specifically” after the increase in the number of reported cases.
“We are doing our best to quickly determine the cause of this and then take appropriate action at the national and international levels,” he said.
The first 10 cases of this acute hepatitis infection were reported by the UK to the World Health Organization on 5 April – the patients were children under the age of 10 without any previous disease. Since then, infections have been detected in Spain, Israel, Denmark, Italy, the United States and Belgium, among other countries.
The age of those affected ranges from 1 month to 16 years; In most cases, they do not have a fever. And no viruses associated with these diseases (hepatitis A, B, C, D and E) were detected in any of them, according to the World Health Organization.
In Portugal, a country that has not yet discovered cases of infection, the Directorate General of Health announced the creation of a working body to monitor the situation.
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