International health officials are currently investigating an alarming increase in unexplainable hepatitis cases amongst children in Europe and the United States. On April 5, The World Health Organization was made aware of 10 cases of unexplained hepatitis in Scotland, with all patients being under the age of ten. Just three days later, the case numbers rose to a staggering 74 cases across the entire UK. In the US, specifically Alabama, there have been a total of nine unexplainable hepatitis diagnoses for children ages 1 to 6. Although there have not been any reported deaths in any of these cases, six children have required a liver transplant. The article is careful to note that there are potentially many unreported cases, which effects the numbers currently representing its prevalence. The CDC and WHO are investigating the adenovirus and covid-19 as an early hypothesis to explain the origins of this phenomenon.

As the world continues to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, the potential for another health crisis is incredibly concerning. These cases of hepatitis, which have only appeared in children, have yet to been explained or attributed to anything specific. If caused by a new virus, the world could face yet another pandemic if the transmission rate is high enough. If a new vaccine has to be developed, this could amplify the problem even further when considering just wait time. If these cases are linked to covid-19, there is a chance that this problem could be tackled rather quickly; however, there are still many children who cannot be safely vaccinated. Although the cases appear to be somewhat contained, it could further burden areas already dealing with covid if it were to spread further. Regardless of it origins, it is important that this issue be handled as quickly so that as few children as possible fall victim to this illness.

Darcy Spicer