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Mysterious liver illness seen in kids in US, Europe; health officials clueless

Prime News, International, Health, Disease, Children, Washington (USA), April 16:- Health officials in several countries are investigating mysterious cases of severe liver disease in children, and they think it may be related to a kind of virus usually associated with colds. The United Kingdom has been investigating at least 74 cases in which children came down with hepatitis, or liver inflammation, the World Health Organisation said Friday (April 15). Three similar cases in Spain and a few in Ireland are being investigated, the WHO said.

Meanwhile, United States health officials say they are looking into nine similar cases. All were in Alabama, but officials say they are looking to see if there are more elsewhere.

“Given the increase in cases reported over the past one month and enhanced case search activities, more cases are likely to be reported in the coming days,” WHO officials said in a statement.

The US children ranged in age from 1 to 6 years old, and two required liver transplants. The European cases are in a similar age range, though some have been older, WHO officials said.

The WHO first became aware of the unusual illnesses early this month, when they learned of 10 children in Scotland with liver problems. One got sick in January and the nine others in March. All became severely ill and were diagnosed with hepatitis after being taken to the hospital.

The liver processes nutrients, filters the blood and fights infections. The infections caused symptoms like jaundice, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Hepatitis can be life-threatening if left untreated.

Since then, British health officials have identified at least 64 more cases. None died, but six needed liver transplants, the WHO said Friday.

Laboratory testing has ruled out the hepatitis type A, B, C and E viruses that usually cause such illnesses. (MR, Inputs: Agencies)

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