THREE children in Spain have been diagnosed with acute hepatitis of unknown origin.
Aged between two and seven from Madrid, Aragon and Castilla-La Mancha, all three were admitted to hospital with one child reportedly receiving a liver transplant at La Paz Hospital in Madrid. They are now recovering well.
Regional governments received notice of an international health alert from the Spanish government on Monday which warned of cases of acute hepatitis.
Meanwhile, doctors across Europe have been warned to stay alert by the European Centre of Disease Control.
Some 74 cases of the disease amongst children in the UK since the start of 2022 are being investigated by British public health officials. Medics in the UK believe the cases could stem from the common adenovirus, but are continuing to investigate other potential causes including environmental factors.
Although cases in Spain are not at the stage of being at unprecedented levels as in the UK, the hepatology working group of the Spanish Society of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Paediatric Nutrition (SEGHNP) believes an increased awareness and vigilance among doctors and the public will lead to more isolated Spanish cases being diagnosed.
Cases of hepatitis in childhood are highly unusual. Connections with the Covid-19 vaccine or infection have been ruled out, and all children in the UK are unvaccinated. None of the five main types of hepatitis (known as A, B, C, D and E) are believed to account for any of the children`s cases so far.