Rare hepatitis A disease in young children Knowledge and the environment | DW

Health authorities in the European Union, the United States and the United Kingdom are investigating an unusual outbreak of hepatitis With kids. The affected children were all younger than ten years old, and many were younger than five. Some cases were severe enough to require liver transplants.

The cause of hepatitis is not clear. Typical hepatitis virus tests – A, B, C, D, or E – were negative, what is ester sutcliffeProfessor of General Pediatrics at the University College from London was described as “very unusual”.

William Irving, professor of virology at the University of Nottingham, agrees that cases of serious hepatitis in children are generally very rare. In normal years they would be cases of hepatitis It tends to be single digits for children in the UK. Last week, 60 cases were reported nationwide. “I’ve never encountered anything like this in my clinical practice,” Irving says. “It’s worrying because we don’t know what’s going on there.”

Occult hepatitis in young children

eruption was by UK health authorities It was first reported in early April. On April 19, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reported additional cases in Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands and Ireland. She also referred to cases in the US state of Alabama.

In a rapid survey of pediatric liver disease centers in Germany, according to German Society of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine No similar cases have been identified so far.

Adenovirus as a possible cause

Hepatitis basically means ‘inflammation of the liver’. According to virologist Irving, the clinical picture can have various causes. In addition to traditional hepatitis viruses, inflammation can also be caused by other viruses, by toxins in alcohol, or by problems such as obesity.

According to Irving, children who are currently infected are suspected to be associated with a particular adenovirus. Because a surprising number of children diagnosed with the mysterious disease have tested positive for a particular type of adenovirus infection: adenovirus 41.

gland infectionsvirus 41 It is common in young children and usually causes mild diarrhea and vomiting. That was with hepatitis virus Irving says he’s never been online before. However, it has often been shown in investigations of existing cases that it could be more than a coincidence – even if it is not found in all affected children. However, so be it unclear, Whether all children are on the suspicious glandvirus checked.

It’s also not clear why adenovirus suddenly causes hepatitis. According to Irving, it is possible that this is a special version of the virus. Or that the virus interacts with one or more factors and thus diseases appear.

The inflammation could be caused by a new, unknown pathogen. Or a toxin, or an environmental factor, or a combination of all of those possibilities, Irving says.

What about covid-19?

Also whether or not there has been contact with COVID-19 according to The virologist did not explain it. It is possible that some infected children have previously had COVID and therefore have a weakened immune system. This may mean that typical childhood viruses are difficult for the body to fight.

Thirteen cases reported in Scotland, for which extensive test results are available, provide insight. Of these 13, three have tested positive for COVID infection, five are negative, and two have had COVID-19 in the past three months. virus injured. Only 11 of the 13 cases have been attributed to Adeno .virus Tested, five of them gave a positive result.

The cases of hepatitis It can be indirectly related to the corona pandemic and the preventive measures that were recently canceled. Because while children have only come into contact with a few pathogens in the past two years, they are now facing a diverse group again. Viruses and bacteria – including adenoidsViruses whose immune system was unable to produce antibodies.

“There is a group of very young children who were largely protected. So they weren’t on the spectrum for that. virus“They were exposed to the infections they would normally have,” Irving said. “We are seeing a lot more children this winter virusInfections, including adenoids, were detectedViruses“.

The rise in hepatitis cases is not a reason to panic

Pediatrician Alistair sutcliffe But one thing is clear: Hepatitis is not caused by COVID-19 vaccines, because childrenPatients have not been vaccinated. Probably because COVID vaccinations for children under five are not yet available in most cases.

sutcliffe She recommends that parents of young children remain calm. “As far as I know, many do [der an Hepatitis erkrankten Kinder] Again better, which is usual. The risk of developing liver failure is very low. So I think it shouldn’t be exaggerated.”

Virologist Irving expects more cases to occur in the coming weeks as health officials learn about the disease and track the outbreak. Britain’s reports of the first cases are likely due to the country’s strict reporting systems.

“I don’t understand Alabama,” Irving says. “I mean why are there nine cases in one state and there are no cases in the other 49 states. It doesn’t make sense. I think it’s the reporting system. Because if it happens in Alabama, it happens somewhere else. You just don’t ‘I don’t know.'”

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