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Hepatitis of unknown origin in children: cases in France, what are the symptoms to watch out for?


Several cases of hepatitis of unknown origin have been observed in young children. First spotted in the UK, this epidemic is spreading. Cases have been identified in France.

Public Health France confirmed to AFP that “two cases of acute hepatitis whose etiology is still undetermined have been reported by the Lyon University Hospital”, in children under the age of 10. These cases had not been communicated before, but according to the civil hospices of Lyon, which BFM contacted, they “since been resolved, one 15 days ago, the other a month ago”.

On the other hand, analyzes are still in progress, even if the link with the hepatitis mentioned in the United Kingdom does not seem obvious. But the WHO has announced that it takes these forms of hepatitis seriously. The World Health Organization has indeed requested that targeted research be carried out urgently, in particular to define the origin of this still unknown hepatitis.

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74 patients with this mysterious hepatitis have been listed by the health authorities. For the majority, these are children under the age of 10, some of whom had to be admitted to hospitals. Six little patients even had to undergo surgery for a liver transplant, says The Parisian.

Symptoms to watch out for

Regarding the distribution of cases, there are 49 confirmed cases in England, 13 in Scotland and 12 in Wales and Northern Ireland. At the same time, 5 other cases are strongly suspected in Ireland and 3 in Spain.

As for the symptoms, the United Kingdom’s health security agency communicated on the list of symptoms observed in patients:

  • Yellowing of eyes and skin;
  • Dark urine;
  • Pale or gray stools;
  • itchy skin;
  • Muscle and joint pain;
  • High fever and excessive fatigue;
  • Stomach aches.
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More reports to come?

If two cases have been reported in France, SPF wants to be rather reassuring. “Cases of acute hepatitis of undetermined etiology in children are not uncommon. The occurrence of these two cases is not unexpected and does not, at this stage, indicate an excess of cases in France. Given the active search for cases that has been launched by the health authorities, other reports are likely to be expected in the coming days.”she told AFP.

For the time being, no death linked to this hepatitis of unknown origin is to be deplored.

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