Japan detects more probable cases of acute hepatitis in children

Japan Times -- May 07
The number of probable cases of children with acute severe hepatitis in Japan has reached seven, the health ministry said Friday.

The tally includes the nation’s first case reported April 25, as well as another two confirmed on April 28, and four more reported Friday. The patients are all 16 years old or younger and the ministry has withheld their exact age, location and sex for privacy reasons.

One patient has tested positive for the coronavirus, and one patient tested positive for adenovirus Type 1. The health ministry declined to disclose whether these are two separate people or one person who contracted both viruses. None of the seven has had a liver transplant, the ministry said.

The patients correspond to the World Health Organization’s working definition of a “probable case” of the acute, severe hepatitis. The probable cases are defined as hospitalized patients who have seen spikes in their liver enzyme levels, and for whom hepatitis viruses A, B, C, D and E have been ruled out as the cause.

According to the WHO, 169 cases of hepatitis of unknown origin, with one death, have been confirmed in 12 countries so far, with ages ranging from 1 month to 16 years old. Reported symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, jaundice and elevated liver enzyme levels.

Of the cases worldwide, adenovirus has been detected in 74 cases, but whether adenovirus, which has over 80 different types, is the cause of the disease is unknown. ...continue reading