Acute hepatitis refers to a rapid onset inflammation of the liver that can progress to acute liver failure with significant morbidity and mortality. It may affect previously healthy individuals and can be due to several infectious causes, hepatitis A, B and E virus, Epstein-Barr virus and cytomegalovirus being some of the more common, as well as non-infectious causes. In 30-49% of children with acute hepatitis progressing to liver failure, the disease aetiology remains unknown, although this high proportion may be due to the lack of exhaustive diagnostic testing carried out. Severe acute hepatitis and acute liver failure of unknown aetiology are not under surveillance in most countries, thus defining a baseline disease incidence is challenging.


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Vidal, A., Vaughan, A., Innocenti, F., Colombe, S., Nerlander, L., Rachwal, N., Ciancio, B., Mougkou, A., Carvalho, C., Delgado, E., Mook, P., de Muylder, G., Peeters, M., Tenev, T., Golkocheva-Markova, E., Jensen, V., Koch, A., Figoni, J., Brouard, C., Nikolopoulou, G., Zisouli, A., Murphy, N., Broderick, A., Goldberg, L., Rich, R., Sagie, L., Tosti, M., Suligoi, B., Joosten, R., Pijnacker, R., Fjeldheim, I., Stępień, M., Polanski, P., Marinho, R., Martins, J., Varela, C., Avellón, A., Andersson, E., Mörk, M., Mandal, S., Watson, C., Coughlan, L., Chand, M., Neill, C., Bradley, D., Li, K., O'Leary, M., McInnes, N., Williams, C., Moore, C., Gjini, A., Duffell, E. & Pebody, R. 2022, 'Hepatitis of unknown aetiology in children – epidemiological overview of cases reported in Europe, 1 January to 16 June 2022', Eurosurveillance, 27(31). https://doi.org/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2022.27.31.2200483

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Last updated: 29 October 2022
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