Hepatitis cases in children in many countries pose mystery. The cause is unclear. The RKI reports the first case in Germany.
Berlin. Since the beginning of April, there has been an increase in the number of cases of children suffering from "acute hepatitis of unknown origin," according to the World Health Organization (WHO), especially in Great Britain. To date, eleven countries have reported clustered cases of liver inflammation (hepatitis) in children with no clear cause – now Germany has also first case.
It corresponds to the case definition of the WHO and the beginning of the illness is already in January, writes the Robert Koch Institute Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in a publication of Tuesday evening. Further details were not provided. According to consistent media reports, the case has been reported from Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany.
Hepatitis in children in Germany: No evidence of further cases
The RKI writes that there are no further indications of cases or accumulations in Germany from specialist societies and children's hospitals. Doctors are asked for increased attention. Reporting suspected cases asked.
A unusual accumulation severe cases of hepatitis in children was first reported from the United Kingdom. However, the typical triggers, hepatitis viruses A to E, have not been found. According to the RKI report, over 110 cases are now known from the UK. There have been isolated cases reported from EU countries and the USA.
WHO: Some children received liver transplants
Of the at least 169 cases that have occurred in Europe and the United States, 17 children have received liver transplants, according to WHO, while one death has been confirmed so far. European countries where cases have been reported include Spain, Denmark, Ireland and the Netherlands.
Adenoviruses were detected in most of the children. These common viruses are the most likely cause for UK experts, RKI report says. The pathogen usually leads to mild illness, for example with cold-like symptoms, vomiting and diarrhea. Liver inflammation, however, is "a known rare complication that mostly affects the immunocompromised"."
Cases in the U.K. may have a new variant circulating that causes the disease, according to the report. Due to pandemic effects, younger children could be particularly susceptible, it was said.
Hepatitis: WHO investigates cause of cases in children
The RKI experts consider the number of known cases in the EU to be difficult to classify. Although individual countries reported more affected children than might actually be expected, a major role could also be played by the Increased attention play. The case definition is also still not very specific, he said. It is possible that some cases may not be part of the outbreak after all.
Overall, a few more weeks of patience are necessary until the results of various studies are available, said Christoph Sarrazin, a member of the board of the German Liver Foundation, in response to a question. If there is more clarity, this may lead to recommendations.
The Corona vaccination as Reason For the novel hepatitis cases, on the other hand, the WHO excludes, since the majority of children who fall ill are unvaccinated. According to the WHO, however, the hypothesis that a double infection with corona and adenoviruses, which could be detected in 19 of the reported cases, is causative is also being examined.