Hepatitis: a mysterious virus that suddenly spreads among children

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Doctors panic after young children develop a severe hepatitis infection. Several countries have reported unusual numbers of cases. The reason is still unknown.

Update from April 21 9:24 amUnusual cases of hepatitis in children are of concern to health authorities in European countries (see initial notification). Inflammation of the liver including liver failure of unknown causes has been found in children in Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands and Spain as well as in Great Britain, according to a European health authority ECDC report. There are also nine suspected cases of acute hepatitis B in the US state of Alabama.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the exact cause of hepatitis in children is still unknown. The center said that “investigations are underway in all countries in which cases have been reported.”

Cases of hepatitis in children remain a mystery – RKI calls for increased attention

How is the situation in Germany? A spokeswoman for the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), at the request of the German news agency (dpa), said that so far, no case has been reported to the Robert Koch Institute. The RKI has notified several medical associations and federal states and requested further attention and information if similar cases occur in Germany.

“We asked the pediatric hepatology centers in Germany after the reports from Great Britain: but so far, there are no worrying signs of an unusual buildup. Serious cases could have been observed in the centers, for example if a liver transplant was necessary “, As Burkard Roddick, general secretary of the German Society of Pediatrics and Adolescents (DGKJ), explains.

“Basically, acute hepatitis in children is fairly rare. It is also known that no clear cause can be found.” “As a general rule, we suspect a previously unknown viral infection. Several types of viruses are possible, not just hepatitis A to E,” Roddick said.

Unexplained hepatitis infections in young children

According to ECDC, no known pathogens of hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E were detected in those infected. Also, no relationship was found between cases of hepatitis and vaccination against corona. Likewise, common patterns such as travel, food, drinks, and personal habits of those affected cannot be identified. These factors were questioned in a questionnaire. Toxicity studies are underway. British health officials believe infection is the most likely cause. It was unclear at first whether adenovirus or a coronavirus infection could be behind this.

The Scottish Health Authority has European watch Details of hepatitis cases were disclosed. Of the 13 cases reported in Scotland, 11 had adenovirus test results – five of which were positive. Three of the children tested positive for corona and five were negative. In two of the sufferers, infection was documented three months earlier. The question of the trigger remains open after analyzing this case. Other infectious causes are still under investigation. The presence of a new or currently undetected virus cannot be ruled out. “It is noteworthy that none of the children was vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2,” the report said.

Adenoviruses – can cause respiratory diseases, eye infections, and gastrointestinal diseases. Viruses are highly contagious and resistant. Pathogens are usually spread from hand to hand. They can remain contagious for a few weeks on surfaces such as doorknobs or towels, according to the website fighting the infection is reading. Therefore, regular hand washing is highly recommended as a precaution.

Corona connection? The mysterious hepatitis virus suddenly spreads among children

First report from April 18, 2022

GENEVA – Two years after the start of the Corona pandemic, the virus continues to raise new questions. Although the Omicron variant has proven to be less dangerous than previous variants, the risk is far from avoidable. Recent developments in the UK have now confirmed that other diseases are also a serious threat in the age of Corona. Because it is said that there has been an unexpected increase in hepatitis with liver disease, which could be linked to the coronavirus.

Hepatitis diseases in children: acute cycles but no deaths

As announced by the World Health Organization (WHO), since the beginning of April, there have been a large number of cases of hepatitis in the UK, affecting children between the ages of eleven months and ten years. After only ten new diseases were initially reported, the number is said to have risen to 74 in the past week. Since then, the first cases have also appeared in Ireland and Spain.

The diseases have been a mystery so far, the World Health Organization said, because hepatitis A, B, C, E and D viruses have been ruled out after lab tests. In several cases, MERS or adenovirus infections or both have been detected in young patients. It is not yet clear if this is the trigger.

According to the World Health Organization, the disease is primarily characterized by symptoms such as jaundice, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and increased liver enzymes. Although no deaths have been recorded so far, six children have already undergone a liver transplant.

Hepatitis diseases in children: the link with corona cannot be ruled out

As reported by the World Health Organization further, in some cases, infection with the coronavirus and adenoviruses, which cause digestive problems, have been detected, among others. It is currently still unclear whether there is a link to hepatitis C and more research is being conducted.

Hepatitis infection can have serious consequences. In the UK, the disease is now on the rise among children. © dpa / Angelica Warmott

Hepatitis diseases in children: the World Health Organization warns of more cases

Since the cause of new cases of hepatitis has not been established, according to the World Health Organization, it is likely that there will be more new cases in the near future. Therefore, all UN member countries should promptly report and investigate potential cases. Travel to and trading with the UK and other countries with proven cases should remain safe.

Hepatitis in children: Not many cases have been reported

According to the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, hepatitis is often underestimated, and in many cases underreported. Because there are five different types of the disease – denoted by letters A through E – the diseases vary in severity. While type A, which can be transmitted through contaminated water, is often relatively benign, types B, C, and D can have severe and long-term consequences such as liver cancer.

The problem is said to be that many sufferers are not even aware of the disease. An estimated 290 million people worldwide are said to have chronic hepatitis without ever being diagnosed. The prospect is frightening and one can only hope that the situation in the UK and other affected countries will not spread further. (fairy)

Scientists are currently looking for a possible relationship between the corona vaccination and myocarditis.

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