Mysterious childhood hepatitis epidemic: a UK study could identify a prime suspect

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the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated its original health notice on May 11 regarding the investigation mysterious worldwide outbreak of hepatitis in children. The World Health Organization (WHO) said a case-control study to be completed this week should provide more clarity as to whether adenovirus or COVID-19 are causally linked to the mysterious condition, according to multiple reports.

“As of May 5, 2022, CDC and state partners are to investigate 109 children with hepatitis of unknown origin in 25 states and territories, more than half of whom tested positive for adenovirus with over 90% hospitalized, 14% with liver transplants and five deaths under investigation, “said the CDC.

About 18 percent of cases worldwide have also tested positive for COVID-19, according to a report from Medical Xpress.


“The main focus next week is to review serology tests for previous COVID exposures and infections,” Philippa Easterbrook, of WHO’s global hepatitis program, told a press. conference.

Easterbrook said that within the week the UK will have data on a case-control study to compare whether the detection rate of adenovirus in children who have hepatitis differs from that of other hospitalized children who do not have liver disease. .

“That will really help honor if [adenovirus] it’s just an accidental infection that has been detected or there is a causal or probable link, “Easterbrook She said.

“At the moment, the main assumptions remain those that involve adenovirus – with still an important consideration also on the role of COVID, both as co-infection and as a past infection. “

“A fundamental question is whether there is a characteristic pattern in liver pathology in these patients. Such a pattern could be seen in the late stage when the liver transplant was performed, or before the severe liver damage of the unknown process was possibly obscured a previous characteristic pattern, “said Dr. Daniel Lucey, clinical professor of medicine at Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicinal.

“If such a model of liver disease was found, then it could be used to help identify the aetiology of hepatitis or at least serve to provide a unifying clinical pathological syndrome as soon as possible.”

None of the UK liver samples “… show none of the typically characteristics that might be expected with liver inflammation due to adenovirus, but we are awaiting further biopsy review, “Easterbrook added.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MAY 14: (LR) Illusionist Criss Angel, his son Johnny Crisstopher Sarantakos and Shaunyl Benson visit as Angel helps distribute food and other items at the Cure 4 The Kids Foundation pediatric cancer treatment center amidst the spread of the coronavirus on May 14, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
(Photo by Ethan Miller / Getty Images)

As adenoviruses are used in some of the COVID-19 vaccinations, a theory on social media has suggested a link between the jab and the hepatitis outbreak in the UK, where the majority of cases have been reported, according to Reuters.

But these adenoviruses in vaccines are “harmless transporters that have been modified so that they cannot replicate or cause infections,” according to the BBC. News.

“There is no evidence of any link to the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine. Most cases are under 5 years old and too young to have received the vaccine,” the United Kingdom Health Safety Agency United Kingdom (UKHSA) She said.

The National Focal Point of the UK’s International Health Regulations first reported 10 cases of severe hepatitis of unknown etiology on 5 April 2022, in children aged 11 months to 5 years in Scotland, WHO She said.


“The European CDC on 11 May reported a total of 449 likely cases in 27 countries including Europe, the Americas (North, Central and South), Asia and the Middle East “, Lucey She said.

“The highest number of cases so far is: UK (163), USA (109), Italy (35), Spain (22), Brazil (16), Indonesia (15), Israel (12), Sweden (nine) , Argentina (eight), Japan (seven) and Canada (seven). ”

More than five cases have been reported in only six countries. The UK has reported the largest number of cases in the world, but so far no children have died in the country, according to a UKHSA dated May 12. statements.

Hepatitis, otherwise known as liver inflammation, is commonly caused by viruses, drugs, or exposure to certain chemicals, according to sanitary line.

“Most of the children in the reported cases had gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting, and diarrhea abdominal pain“says Dr. Norberto Rodriguez-Baez, professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical center.

“These symptoms were followed by the development of jaundice,” he said added.

Jaundice is when the skin and eyes turn yellow because the liver loses its ability to properly eliminate bilirubin, via Healthline.


“Interestingly, fever has not been described as a common symptom in these cases. Furthermore, all children previously were. healthy“Rodriguez-Baez said.

“It is important for parents to know that the likelihood of their baby developing hepatitis is extremely low. We keep reminding everyone to pay attention to the signs of hepatitis – especially jaundice, look for a yellow tinge in the whites of the eyes – and contact your doctor if you are concerned, “said Dr. Meera Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at UKHSA.