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Explained: What is 'Mysterious' liver disease affecting kids? From organ failure to other Symptoms, read here

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Washington, Apr 20: Health officials in several countries are investigating mysterious cases of severe liver disease in children, and they think it may be related to a kind of virus usually associated with colds.

Explined: What Mysterious liver disease affecting kids? From organ failure to other Symptoms, details here

The U.K. has been investigating at least 74 cases in which children came down with hepatitis, or liver inflammation, the World Health Organization said Friday. Three similar cases in Spain and a few in Ireland are being investigated, the WHO said.

Meanwhile, U.S. health officials say they are looking into nine similar cases. All were in Alabama, but officials say they are looking to see if there are more elsewhere.

Countries with mystery liver illness:

Cases of this mysterious liver disease have been reported in Spain, Denmark and the Netherlands, besides the US and UK. So far, no deaths have been reported.

The U.S. children ranged in age from 1 to 6 years old, and two required liver transplants. The European cases are in a similar age range, though some have been older, WHO officials said.

WHO on 'mystery' liver disease

The WHO first became aware of the unusual illnesses early this month, when they learned of 10 children in Scotland with liver problems. One got sick in January and the nine others in March. All became severely ill and were diagnosed with hepatitis after being taken to the hospital.

What could have caused the illness?

Despite some cases testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 and adenovirus, a genetic characterisation of the viruses needs to be undertaken to determine any potential associations between cases, the WHO has said.

Science magazine also supported the theory that the hepatitis is being caused by an adenovirus, since upto half of the children infected in the UK have tested positive for it.

What are the symptoms?

The liver is the crucial organ of the body which helps in processing important nutrients in the body, filtering the blood and fighting foreign infections. cording to the experts, when a child was found infected with mysterious liver disease, he or she had symptoms like:

Diarrhoea and

Abdominal pain

Dark urine,

Pale and grey-coloured stool,

Itchy skin,

Yellowing of the eyes and skin,

High temperature,

Muscle and joint pain and

loss of appetite among others.

Graham Cooke, a professor of infectious diseases at Imperial College London, said, "Mild hepatitis is very common in children following a range of viral infections, but what is being seen at the moment is quite different."

He further added that some of the children in the U.K. have also required specialist care at liver units and a few have needed a liver transplant.

Why is this a cause of worry?

According to the officials, the usual virus that is found in the patients with hepatitis was not seen in the infected kids, which means the cause of the disease is new and unknown.

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