Argentina detects first case of new acute hepatitis in children

Buenos Aires, May 4 (EFE).- Argentina on Wednesday detected its first case of acute hepatitis of unknown origin in children, the health ministry said in a statement.

An eight-year-old boy was admitted to the children’s hospital of the city of Rosario, in Santa Fe province.

With its first confirmed case, Argentina joins a list of at least 20 affected countries.

Some 228 such cases have been recorded in less than a month while another 50 are under investigation, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Tuesday.

While most of the cases have been detected in Europe, the disease has also been detected in the Americas, the Western Pacific and Southeast Asia.

This type of hepatitis was first detected by the United Kingdom on Apr. 5 in previously healthy children under the age of 10 years.

Since then, similar cases have been found in Spain, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, the United States and Indonesia, among others.

According to the WHO, the cases detected so far are between one month and 16 years of age and most of them did not have fever.

“The common viruses that cause acute viral hepatitis (hepatitis viruses A, B, C, D and E) have not been detected in any of these cases,” the WHO had said in an earlier statement.

Four children have died so far from this unknown strain, which causes abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting, and 10 percent of those affected have required a liver transplant.

The WHO has asked countries in which cases have been detected to continue investigations and report any possible cases with the aim of gathering information and being able to trace the source of the disease.

The WHO is currently investigating if the disease is caused by adenovirus subtype 41, detected in dozens of these cases. This virus usually causes common colds and gastroenteritis. EFE


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