Three children with symptoms of acute hepatitis have been detected in Greece, the National Health Care Organization EODY announced on Thursday afternoon. It is the first cases of acute hepatitis in children in the country.
“Following an active search for cases, three cases of children with acute hepatitis were identified that meet the criteria of a” possible case “, according to the definition of the World Health Organization”, EODY said in the statement.
According to the announcement, two of the children, aged 14 months and 10 years, showed symptoms in the gastrointestinal tract (abdominal pain and vomiting) and fever and the laboratory test showed an increase in liver enzymes (transaminases > 500 IU / ml ).
The third case, an 18-month-old child, was asymptomatic and preventive laboratory test found the liver enzymes were found to be increased.
Test for viral hepatitis A-E was negative in all three children.
No EBV, CMV, adenovirus or SARS-CoV-2 virus was detected in any of the other laboratory tests.
Two of the three children needed a few days of hospitalization.
The children did not show any complications, did not receive special treatment and are in excellent general condition.
In its statement EODY did not reveal neither the children’s residential areas nor the hospitals where they received treatment.
Last month, health authorities had an acute hepatitis “suspect” case. Ultimately, the 9-year-old child in Athens did not developed the mysterious disease.
Authorities and doctors on alert
“Clinicians are vigilant about this emerging situation, they have been informed and are vigilant for the timely detection of children up to 16 years old, who show signs and symptoms of hepatitis, without a clear reason and in such a case fill in and send to EODY a declaration form,” the statement added.
EODY closely monitors the development of the situation, is in systematic communication with the European Public Health Institutions, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) and has already informed all the Health Regions of the country. , the Panhellenic Medical Association, as well as the Scientific Societies, whose members may face similar incidents.
Instructions have been sent for the collection and sending of samples to the Central Laboratory of Public Health, in order to immediately perform the necessary control to identify the cause of the epidemic outbreak,” the statement emphazied.
Epidemiology of acute hepatitis worldwide
According to the EODY announcement, in early April, an unusually high number of cases of acute hepatitis was observed in children in the United Kingdom. No case of hepatitis virus infection (A to E) was documented and no correlation was found with travel or exposure to toxic or environmental agents.
The clinical syndrome occurs in children up to 16 years of age, most often between 2 and 5 years of age, and includes severe acute hepatitis with markedly elevated transaminases, often with jaundice and gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting as a predominant symptom), which preceded by jaundice.
Following the announcement of the incidents by Great Britain, similar incidents have been reported in 16 European countries as well as in the USA, Canada, Japan, Israel, Singapore. The total number of cases worldwide is extremely small.
To date, about 300 cases have been reported, of which 163 have been reported by the United Kingdom.
Although countries with suspected cases are being added, the number of cases per country does not appear to be increasing, suggesting that the spread is limited.
Most of the children needed hospitalization, some needed transfer to specialized pediatric hepatology units and a small percentage underwent liver transplants.
The underlying cause of this increase, from the beginning of 2022, remains currently unknown. Further laboratory investigation of the identified cases for additional infections, chemical agents and toxins is in progress.