Japan investigates possible case of new acute hepatitis in children

Tokyo, Apr 26 (EFE).- Japanese health authorities are investigating a possible case of acute hepatitis of unknown origin in children that has been detected in 11 other countries with a total of about 170 confirmed cases so far.

Top government spokesperson Hirokazu Matsuno said during his daily press conference on Tuesday that the case was detected after the patient was hospitalized.

Matsuno added that Japan was analyzing the case based on the World Health Organization (WHO) standards.

This hepatitis of unknown origin is being detected mainly in children under 10 years of age.

The patient in question, about whom not many details have been provided, is 16 years old or younger.

According to local media reports, the health ministry became aware of the possible case on Apr. 21 after a notification from the hospital to the local authorities.

Matsuno said that the patient had tested negative for hepatitis A to E, adenovirus and Covid-19.

These circumstances are consistent with the other cases.

According to the WHO, the cases detected so far are between one month and 16 years 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 said in a statement on Saturday.

The Japanese patient has not required a liver transplant unlike 17 other children, or 10 percent of the cases.

Matsuno said that the government will continue to monitor the situation in other countries and cooperate closely with the WHO on the evolution of cases of this new acute hepatitis in children.

The first 10 cases were reported by the United Kingdom to the WHO on Apr. 5 in previously healthy children under the age of 10 years.

The WHO has asked countries in which cases have been detected to continue investigations and take preventive measures.

These include steps that have already been adopted during the coronavirus pandemic, including frequent hand washing, covering the mouth when coughing, etc, as well as testing of blood, serum, urine and stools, and sequencing.

The WHO does not recommend any restrictions on travel and/or trade with any of the countries where the cases have been detected for now. EFE


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