Ljubljana – One child in Slovenia is suspected of having fallen ill with hepatitis of unknown origin, Mojca Matičič, an infectologist at UKC Ljubljana hospital, told the press on Monday. Further test results are yet to come in, but the child’s condition is good.
The World Health Organization has so far reported about 169 cases of acute hepatitis of unknown origin, with 17 kids having their liver transplanted and one dying.
The first country to report such a case was the United Kingdom, whereas the EU has so far recorded 34 cases, and four children have had their liver transplanted.
Matičič said that scientists are yet to determine what causes the disease, with the adenovirus being one possible cause.
Another factor aggravating the course of the disease could be related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We’ve lived in abnormal circumstances for two years, children have met more rarely and have not come in contact with viruses in circulation that would stimulate their natural immunity,” she explained.
It is also possible that the disease is caused by environmental factors, for instance poisons, or a new variant of the coronavirus, which is however rather unlikely.
The infected children are usually younger than 10, with the main symptoms being jaundice, diarrhoea, vomiting and abdominal pain.
Matičič urged parents to contact a doctor if they suspect their child might have fallen ill with acute hepatitis of unknown origin.