• Wed. Nov 29th, 2023

12 Cases of Unexplained Hepatitis Discovered in Children in Israel

Apr 22, 2022

On Tuesday, the Health Ministry in Israel announced that they had identified 12 cases of acute hepatitis in children, which resulted in some panic. However, most of the cases had been diagnosed over a year ago and had required the children to have their liver lobes transplanted, which were donated by their parents. This week, a letter was sent by the Health Ministry to pediatricians as well as other doctors all over Israel, which instructed that they keep an eye out for kids who are suffering acute hepatitis with the cause unknown and to report any such cases to the Ministry. 

Five of the cases had been identified in Jerusalem at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center (SZMC), while seven of them had occurred in Petah Tikva at Schneider Children’s Medical Center, along with the two cases of transplants. The young patients had come to these medical institutions from different areas of the country and they did not belong to any specific religious or ethnic groups. SZMC’s director of the pediatric liver unit, Dr. Eyal Shteyer stated that they had released all their patients. According to the announcement of the ministry, the cases had happened in the last few months, but Schneider said that the transplants were performed almost a year ago.

Shteyer said that different European countries had reported about 50 such cases, but there was no need to panic because of the rarity. He said that the eyes and skin of the children had turned yellow due to jaundice as there was liver inflammation. The enzymes in the liver were at an abnormal level. He added that there was no correlation between Hepatitis A, B, C, D or E, and acute hepatitis. According to a spokesman for Schneider, all seven kids had recovered from COVID-19, but they hadn’t found any connection to acute hepatitis. 

A vaccine has been developed for treating acute hepatitis, but children below the age of five are not eligible for it. The outbreak had begun in Britain and had spread to numerous other countries, including Spain, the US, Denmark, the Netherlands and Ireland. According to Alabama’s health department, there have been nine cases of acute hepatitis amongst children below the age of 10. These children have experienced different degrees of liver injury including failure and also reported symptoms of gastrointestinal illness. There is a possibility that this hepatitis is associated with Adenovirus 41. 

None of the children diagnosed had any underlying health conditions. As a matter of fact, the adenovirus is being considered a possible cause of acute hepatitis by the UK Health Security Agency as well and they are investigating it. There has been no connection between the disease and the COVID-19 vaccine and they have not discovered anything common in the information collected from the children about their drink, food and personal habits. In these cases, laboratory investigations have concluded that Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E could be possible causes, but there has been no confirmation as yet. 

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