Hepatitis of Unknown Origin in Children: Updated Evidence and Concise Review

Ajay Kumar Jha


J Viral Hepat. 2022;29(11):942-947. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


The rapid emergence of severe acute hepatitis across several European countries and several geographical regions in the United States has created panic among health institutions, local authorities, governmental organizations and regulatory bodies. Early reporting, stringent surveillance and supportive care can temporarily help tackle this crisis. However, definitive containment measures and management require characterization of the clinical spectrum, epidemiological assessment and extensive investigations. Furthermore, a sound management strategy requires randomized trials to explore the treatment options.


Severe acute hepatitis of unknown aetiology was reported by the United Kingdom International Health Regulation Focal point on 5 April 2022 in 10 previously healthy young children in Scotland.[1] Since then, nearly 650 cases have emerged across 33 countries, predominantly in the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA).[2] Fifteen countries have reported less than 5 cases, and 26 children now have undergone liver transplantation.[3] The United Kingdom has registered nearly 60% of these cases.[1] More than 200 cases have now been reported from 25 states in the USA, and ten children have died of severe liver failure.[4] Data about risk factors, clinical characteristics, laboratory investigation and management remain largely unknown.[2,4,5]