“Yesterday [terça-feira] I heard about 10 more cases spread between different countries, today the case was identified in Poland. That doesn’t mean it will be the case in the future, but there hasn’t been a frightening explosion in recent days, “Rui Tato Marinho told the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
The program director of the Directorate-General for Health stated that he had been in contact with paediatricians and GPs and that no cases had been reported in Portugal.
“We are prepared for this to happen at any time,” he said, adding, “We already know what these typical cases of hepatitis in children are like.”
According to Rui Tato Marinho, “they are very small children, three to four years old, with 10% of cases progressing to fulminant hepatitis, which required a transplant.”
The expert explained that in these cases, the transplant takes place from a living donor, where the father, mother or older friend can give a “small portion to pay”.
There is a child resettlement team in Coimbra, Portugal, which is prepared for a possible incident in the country.
At the ECDC meeting, the official said that the first part concerned existing information with the help of an “very important” English-language document, about 40 pages, describing the tests performed on ages. and working hypotheses about the cause of the disease.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the ECDC work hard day and night to detect what is common in these cases, what is happening, and to know what the pathogen is, whether it is a virus or not. .
“There is a working hypothesis that it is an adenovirus that is a virus we are already familiar with, but that has changed and become more aggressive,” he pointed out.
The second part, he said, was the organization of “case classification strategies,” common to identify them and the analyzes he did in the laboratory to try to identify the cause of hepatitis (inflammation of the liver). .
“It was more of a strategy than what is being taken forward. Contact all European partners so we can be prepared if there is anything bigger,” said Rui Tato Marinho.
Stella Kyriakides, the European Commissioner for Health, acknowledged in Brussels today that the outbreak of acute hepatitis of unknown origin in children “is a matter of concern” which “the European Union is following very closely”.
The WHO announced on Sunday that the child had died of a mysterious outbreak of liver disease affecting children in Europe and the United States, without revealing in which country the death took place.
The epidemic of “unknown origin” reported by the WHO on 15 April causes hepatitis and “in many cases” gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting, as well as elevated liver enzymes.