All the children have been admitted to hospital and one needed a liver transplant. / sur

Health authorities in Spain investigate cases of acute hepatitis of unknown origin in children

The cases appear similar to some detected in the UK in recent weeks, but the normal viruses which can cause the disease have not been detected in the youngsters and travel has been ruled out as a cause


Health authorities in Spain are investigating three isolated cases of children suffering from severe acute hepatitis of unknown origin. They are aged between two and seven and are from Madrid, Aragón and Castilla-La Mancha. All have been admitted to hospital and one has had to have a liver transplant. They are said to be recovering well.

WHO international health alert

On Monday, the national Ministry of Health sent the regional governments an international health alert from the WHO because similar cases had been detected among children in the UK in recent weeks.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said the children in the UK had acute hepatitis with especially high transaminases, often presenting with jaundice, sometimes preceded by gastrointestinal symptoms including vomiting. The cause is not known because the common viruses that can cause hepatitis (Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E) were not detected in any of these cases, and the children had not been travelling.

Not related to the Covid-19 vaccine or infection

Initial investigations say the illness is not related to the Covid-19 vaccine or Covid infection, even though some of the children hospitalised in the UK tested positive for Covid

The health authorities recommend frequent hand-washing, covering nose and mouth with the inside of the elbow when coughing and using disposable tissues as a way of preventing contagion.

They also advise that a doctor should be consulted if a child has the symptoms mentioned above and they get worse in a short time, and say that they should only be given medication which has been prescribed by a GP or pediatrician.