THE mystery hepatitis outbreak sweeping across Europe has claimed the lives of two more children.
Health experts in Spain said the illness was from an ‘unknown origin’.
The Ministry of Health said the victims are a six-year-old boy in Murcia and a 15-month-old baby from Andalusia.
Both had underwent liver transplants, which sadly were unsuccessful.
In May it was revealed that the illness had claimed the lives of 12 children.
Just last month it was revealed that fifteen kids in the UK have needed a transplant due to the illness.
A total of 274 cases (four unconfirmed) have been detected this year, and hundreds more globally, which is way above what is considered normal.
However, there is hope the outbreak is over, as the rate of cases is in decline in the UK.
And scientists have made a breakthrough in their investigations, discovering the source of what was a mystifying epidemic.
They now believe the cause was a surge in viruses and bugs when the Covid restrictions were lifted.
Two specific viruses have been blamed – adeno-associated virus 2 and adenoviruses, a group of common bugs that cause colds or diarrhoea and vomiting.
When combined, they are thought to trigger liver damage in some children.
Authorities in Spain, where the most recent deaths have occurred said cases there have been detected in ten different regions.
To date, they said up to 60 per cent of the cases have been in girls.
The six-year-old boy who sadly lost his life had developed symptoms on July 2.
Then on July 18 he was transferred to a hospital in Madrid for a liver transplant.
He underwent a transplant on July 29 and died the following day.
The 10 signs of hepatitis you need to know
- Dark urine
- Pale, grey-coloured poo
- Itchy skin
- Yellowing of the eyes and skin (jaundice)
- Muscle and joint pain
- A high temperature
- Feeling and being sick
- Feeling unusually tired all the time
- Loss of appetite
- Tummy pain
The 15-month-old baby had been admitted at the end of June with gastroenteritis and was positive for adenovirus.
He required an urgent liver transplant and also died with 24 hours.
Studies have suggested that the coronavirus itself is not involved, given that positivity rates were similar in the group of children with hepatitis and controls.
Dr Meera Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at UKHSA, said untangling the causes of the outbreak has been “complex”.
She said: “Multiple strands of investigation point towards the possibility that several different factors have combined to cause severe illness in some children.
“It’s important to remember that it’s very rare for a child to develop hepatitis and new cases associated with this outbreak have now declined.
“UKHSA continues to work with academic and international partners to understand why this cluster occurred and any future risks.”
Source: The Sun