Hepatitis A virus (HVA) causes acute inflammation of the liver and is the most common of all forms of viral hepatitis (photo credit: ALAIN GRILLET/FLICKR)

12 cases of unexplained hepatitis found in children in Israel

12 cases of hepatitis (liver inflammation) from an unexplained source have been reported in children at Shaare Zedek Medical Center and Schneider Children’s Medical Center for Israel, the Health Ministry announced on Tuesday night.

The Health Ministry is examining the reports.

Earlier this year, Britain reported an outbreak of unexplained hepatitis cases among children. Since January, 74 cases of hepatitis have been reported in children in the UK.

Since the outbreak in Britain began, outbreaks have spread to other countries, including the US, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands and Spain. Nine cases of acute hepatitis have been reported in children under the age of 10 in Alabama, according to the state’s health department. The affected children in Alabama have experienced symptoms of a gastrointestinal illness and varying degrees of liver injury including liver failure.

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, analyzes have revealed a possible association of this hepatitis with Adenovirus 41. None of the children had underlying health conditions. The UK Health Security Agency also stated that adenoviruses is one of the possible causes being investigated.

Shaare Zedek Medical Center.  (credit: COURTESY SHAARE ​​ZEDEK)Shaare Zedek Medical Center. (credit: COURTESY SHAARE ​​ZEDEK)

According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the hypotheses of the incident team in the UK centered around an infectious agent or a possible toxic exposure. No link to the COVID-19 vaccine was found and detailed information collected about food, drink and personal habits failed to identify any common exposure.

Laboratory investigations have excluded hepatitis types A, B, C, D and E as possible causes in these cases.

“This is a severe phenomenon,” Deirdre Kelly, a pediatric hepatologist at Birmingham Children’s Hospital in the United Kingdom, told ScienceInsider last week. “Thesis [were] perfectly healthy children … up to a week ago.”

WHO’s Regional Office for Europe wrote in an emailed statement that “This should be taken seriously. The increase is unexpected and the usual causes have been excluded,” according to ScienceInsider.

On Monday, the Health Ministry had sent a letter to medical professionals in Israel asking that they keep an eye out for children experiencing acute hepatitis of an unknown cause and report any such cases to the ministry.

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