Health investigates “strange” case of childhood hepatitis in Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s Ministry of Health is investigating a case of “strange” childhood hepatitis that has infected 169 children in Europe and the United States.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports an outbreak of this disease, of “unknown origin”, affecting children between one month and 16 years of age.

Although there are no confirmed cases yet, there is already suspicion in the country and therefore, a warning was issued to the health services. This was confirmed after a request from

“Directorate of Health Supervision of the Ministry” generate alerts for health services and an inter-agency team is formed namely following up on the behavior of the event,” Salud replied via email.

“Currently, there is a case under investigation,” the same document details.


This disease usually causes abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting. According to international warnings, 17 patients who fell ill (about one in 10) needed a liver transplant.

WHO reported in a statement that the majority of cases had been registered in Europe (114 in the UK, 13 in Spain); there are also nine confirmed in the United States and 12 in Israel.

“This particular form of hepatitis is characterized by children who rarely have a fever. When they go to the hospital, liver function tests are done and there are elevated liver enzymes and serological tests for the most common infectious agent that produces hepatitis (hepatitis A), the B virus. and C) it usually comes out negative,” explains Dr. Olga Arguedas, director of the National Children’s Hospital.

“The cause of this hepatitis has not been established. It has likely been postulated that it is related to a virus called adenovirus 41, which we are monitoring here at the hospital, but at this point doesn’t give us a big problem”he added.

The Ministry of Health did not provide details on the suspected case of hepatitis “of unknown origin”.

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