WHO Confirms Mystery Liver Disease Outbreak, First Fatality Reported

At least one death has been reported in connection with an unexplained liver disease outbreak affecting children in Europe and the United States, as per the World Health Organization.

Late Saturday, the United Nations’ World Health Organization announced that it has received reports of at least 169 cases of severe hepatitis of unknown origin from a dozen nations. The illnesses affected children ranging in age from one month to sixteen years old, with 17 of those who became severely ill requiring liver transplants. The WHO did not specify the country in which the death occurred.

The first occurrences were reported in the United Kingdom, where 114 youngsters were affected.

WHO noted in a statement that it is still unclear if there has been an increase in hepatitis cases or an increase in knowledge of hepatitis cases that occur at the expected rate but go unreported.
Experts believe the incidents are linked to a virus that causes colds, but further research is needed.

While adenovirus is a likely cause, WHO added that investigations into the cause are still ongoing, noting that the virus has been found in at least 74 of the cases. The coronavirus was found in at least 20 of the children.

According to the WHO, nations affected are increasing their surveillance of hepatitis cases in children.

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