The World Health Organization is investigating cases of perfectly healthy kids getting rare and severe liver damage

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a daily press briefing on COVID-19 at the WHO headquaters on March 11, 2020 in Geneva.

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a daily press briefing on COVID-19 at the WHO headquarters on March 11, 2020 in Geneva.FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images

  • Young kids in the UK, US, Ireland, and Spain have gotten severe acute hepatitis.

  • None of the kids tested positive for the viruses that cause the illness − hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E.

  • The WHO said the illness could have been caused by adenovirus but the link is still unclear.

The World Health Organization is looking into cases of severe acute hepatitis in children in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Spain the agency said on Friday.

The cases were not linked to hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E, the viruses that commonly cause the illness.

To date, 74 cases have been identified in kids under 10 in the United Kingdom, less than five cases have also been identified in Ireland, and three were confirmed in Spain. Officials in each country are also investigating the cause, the WHO said.

No links have been found between the kids in the UK.

State News also reported that officials in the US are investigating nine cases of severe acute hepatitis in kids, which have also not been caused by the viruses that commonly cause hepatitis.

The Alabama Department of Public Health on Friday announced that since November 2021, nine cases of this acute hepatitis were identified in kids under 10.

The WHO said the cause of this liver failure is still unclear and under investigation, but said adenovirus, a respiratory illness that normally causes a cold, could be involved.

In Alabama, all nine kids tested positive for Adenovirus 41, ADPH said. Karen Landers, district medical officer for the Alabama Department of Public Health told State News the cases were found in different parts of the state, and they haven’t found any links between the children.

“The affected children were from throughout the state of Alabama, and an epidemiological linkage among them has not been determined. None of these children has had any underlying health conditions of note,” ADPH said.

ADPH said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is developing a national Health Advisory to search for clinically similar cases.

Stat News, citing a scientific article on a case in Scotland, said the pandemic may have played a role, noting that kids impacted may have not been exposed to a wide variety of germs during the pandemic, and therefore were more susceptible to becoming ill once COVID-19 mandates were eased.

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