One Death, Over 160 Sickened In Mysterious Hepatitis Outbreak In Children


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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More than 160 children have been diagnosed with acute hepatitis as a mysterious outbreak spreads across 11 countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Saturday.

At least one child has died and 17 others have required liver transplants as acute, severe hepatitis of an unknown origin has been reported in Europe and the U.S., according to the WHO. Cases have been identified in children aged one month to 16-years, the WHO noted. A majority cases were first identified in the United Kingdom, where 114 children have fallen ill, according to USA Today.

Nine cases were identified in Alabama, closely followed by two more in North Carolina, StatNews noted Thursday. Two of those infected in Alabama required liver transplants despite being healthy prior to their diagnoses, the outlet continued. All of those infected in the state were under the age of 10, according to The New York Times

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a national health alert last week following the outbreak in Alabama. The agency said that pediatricians should be on the lookout for liver inflammation expressed with jaundice, gastroenterological issues, fatigue and other symptoms.

“A cluster of cases, especially among this age group, is definitely something to monitor closely,” University of Alabama epidemiologist Bertha Hidalgo told the NYT. (RELATED: Almost 100 People Developed Brain Tumors After Links To School)

The number of cases in the UK was described as “unexpected” and “significant” as they all occurred in generally healthy children, WHO noted. Investigations for the cause of the outbreak are still underway, and WHO noted that it’s unclear whether there has been a marked increase in cases or a rise in awareness.