What is known about the mysterious outbreak of hepatitis in children Health

Health authorities in the European Union, the United States and the United Kingdom are investigating a mysterious outbreak of hepatitis in children, which has already reached several countries and killed at least one person.

Severe cases of hepatitis in children are very rareSays William Irving, a professor of virology at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom. He said that reports of hepatitis in children in European countries are usually in single digits every year. Only in the first four months of 2022, The United Kingdom More than a hundred have already been counted.

  • The WHO has confirmed the death of a child from hepatitis for unknown reasons

“I think it’s absolutely awesome,” Irving said. “I haven’t seen anything like it in my clinical practice. It’s worrying because we don’t know what’s going on.”

Where is the case?

The outbreak was first reported by the UK health authorities in early April, with the first case returning in January. On April 19, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control announced that cases had been reported in Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands and Ireland. The case is still pending in the US state of Alabama.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 169 cases have been identified in 12 countries Until last Sunday (23/04). At least one child has died, while 17 need a liver transplant.

Most of the cases reported so far by the WHO have been reported in the United Kingdom (114), and the rest in European countries other than the United States and Israel.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany’s government agency for disease control and prevention, reported on Tuesday that a case of hepatitis had been identified in the country, although it was not yet counted by the WHO. Canada and Japan have also announced cases of the disease in recent days.

Cases reported by the WHO affect children from 1 month to 16 years of age, who are under 5 years of age. Children are not testing positive for common hepatitis viruses – A, B, C, D or E – a scenario that Alistair Sutcliffe, a professor of general pediatrics at University College London, called “very unusual.”

Infected children have acute hepatitis, which means they are experiencing hepatitis. Gastrointestinal symptoms have been reported in many cases, including abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. Most did not have a fever.

Hepatitis can have many causes. The disease can be caused by a viral infection, alcohol toxins or obesity. Irving of the University of Nottingham says the cause of this particular outbreak is not yet clear, it is widely believed that it may be related to an adenovirus.

Adenovirus as a possible cause?

Doctors have found that some children diagnosed with myocardial infarction have tested positive for a specific type of adenovirus infection: adenovirus 41. Irving says adenovirus 41 has not been identified in all cases of hepatitis in children, nor has it been investigated comprehensively. Case. Case in point, but it has been observed in sufficient cases that the potential is more than a coincidence.

  • Doctors have been warned in cases of acute hepatitis in children in Europe and the United States

Adenovirus 41 is a common infection in young children that usually causes symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting, Irving said, but is not known to be associated with hepatitis.

According to experts, this particular adenovirus may have something unusual, or it may interact with other factors that cause hepatitis. Or it could be a new infectious agent, or a toxin, or some kind of environmental cause or a combination of all these possibilities, Irving says.

Not a single link to the coronavirus can be ruled out, says a professor of virology. It is possible that some of these children with hepatitis B had Covid-19, which affected their immune system, making it harder to fight off common childhood viruses.

According to the WHO, SARS-COV-2 coronavirus has been identified in 20 children infected with hepatitis, but not all have been tested. Also, 19 people were diagnosed with SARS-COV-2 and adenovirus co-infections.

In Scotland, for example, 13 cases of hepatitis in children recorded in the country have different test results. Of those 13, three tested positive for Covid-19 infection, five tested negative and two have been infected with the virus in the past three months. Of the 13 cases, only 11 were tested for adenovirus, five of which tested positive.

If the Covid-19 infection is not at the root of the problem, the effects of the epidemic on children’s health could play a role, Irving said.

“You have a group of people who were originally protected, very young children. So they have not been exposed to the different types of virus infections that they are usually exposed to,” the expert explained.

“We have seen this winter [no Hemisfério Norte] Very high levels of the full range of viral infections in children with adenovirus, ”he added.

One thing is clear: Hepatitis is not caused by the Covid-19 vaccine, says Sutcliffe of University College London, because children with the disease have not been vaccinated.

Sutcliffe urges parents to calm down. “It simply came to our notice then [crianças com hepatite] Advanced, which is normal. If we reduce [o surto] As for the risk of liver failure, the risk is very low. So I think we should not exaggerate, “said the expert.

Irving, for his part, said he hopes to see more cases reported in the coming weeks as health officials become aware and begin searching for the outbreak. Experts say the UK has so far identified so many cases, probably due to the country’s strict health reporting system.

“I don’t understand Alabama,” said Irving. “I mean, why would you have nine lawsuits in one state and no lawsuits in the other 49 states? That doesn’t make sense. I think it must be a surveillance function. I think if it’s happening in Alabama it’s happening in another state. Place. I don’t know yet. ”

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