September 24, 2022

MADRID (AP) – Spain has reported its first two deaths from acute hepatitis, or inflammation of the liver, among children – a disease whose causes are unknown and is being monitored by international health officials.

Spain’s Ministry of Health said 46 cases of the disease had been reported in Spain and three required liver transplants.

Of the three, two died – a 15-month-old baby in June and a 6-year-old in July.

The ministry said in a statement on Thursday that 507 cases had been reported in 21 countries in Europe by July 28, with 273 of them in Britain.

At least 180 cases have been reported in the United States, and six deaths have been reported.

Health officials remain puzzled by the causes of hepatitis and say the best available evidence points to a stomach bug not known to cause liver problems in otherwise healthy children.

Spain says it has begun closely monitoring the situation after Britain alerted the World Health Organization to a sharp rise in cases.

The ministry said it has so far not seen an increase in the number of cases of this type of hepatitis compared to estimates made with data from previous years.

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