Scientists are still confused about the cause of the disease, which has been monitored in the United States, Western Europe and a few other countries.  Globally, at least 12 young people died and dozens needed a liver transplant

Another 20 British children contracted mysterious hepatitis

Another 20 British children contracted hepatitis of unknown origin as the outbreak of the mysterious disease continued.

Health officials announced the new cases today, bringing the cumulative total in the UK to 222 since the first case was discovered in January.

Of the confirmed patients, 158 were in England, 31 in Scotland, 17 in Wales and 16 in Northern Ireland.

They are mostly in children under the age of five – but a small number of children over the age of 10 have also been hit.

Scientists are still puzzled over the cause of the life-threatening liver disease, with weakened immunity to colds due to shutdown still thought to be one of the main culprits.

Complications have been reported in hundreds of children in Europe, the United States, South America, the Middle East and Asia. At least 12 young people died and dozens required liver transplants. No children have died in the UK.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said it was still investigating the cause of the mysterious outbreak – with the usual hepatitis A, B, C, D and E viruses being excluded from lab test results.

Scientists are still confused about the cause of the disease, which has been monitored in the United States, Western Europe and a few other countries. Globally, at least 12 young people died and dozens needed a liver transplant

The main theory is that a series of hepatitis cases result from a group of viruses that usually cause colds known as adenoviruses.

Scientists are investigating whether the mutated strain of adenovirus has evolved to become more severe, or if a lack of social mixing during an epidemic weakens children’s immunity.

They also could not rule out an old infection of Covid.

UKHSA officials said there was no evidence linking the outbreak to the Covid vaccine because most cases were in children under five who had not been stabbed.

New cases appear to be slowing, with 20 cases recorded in the nine days to May 25, down 41 percent from the 34 cases recorded in the six days to May 16.

Dr Tasos Grammaticopoulos, a consultant at King’s College Hospital in London who has treated some of the sick children, said last week that the UK ‘appears to be past the peak’ of the outbreak.

Dr Renu Bindra, UKHSA’s chief medical advisor, said: “Our investigations continue to suggest an association between adenovirus, and we are exploring this link, along with other potential contributing factors including previous infections such as Covid.

“We are working with other countries that are also seeing new cases to share information and learn more about these infections.”

“Children still have a very low chance of contracting hepatitis,” she added.

Maintaining regular hygiene measures, including making sure that children regularly wash their hands properly, helps reduce the spread of many common diseases, including adenoviruses.

We continue to remind everyone to watch for signs of hepatitis — especially jaundice, and look for a yellow tinge in the whites of the eyes — and to call your doctor if you’re concerned.

Symptoms of complications usually begin with diarrhea or illness. It can then cause the skin and eyes to turn yellow.

The US has recorded 216 cases in 37 states, with Mississippi and Utah the latest being added to the growing list.

No new deaths or liver transplants have been reported over the past seven days, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed in its weekly update with the total remaining at 14 and 6, respectively.

The agency hasn’t revealed where the deaths occurred due to “confidentiality issues,” but at least one has been recorded in Wisconsin, the state’s health chiefs.

Globally, the UK has now recorded the highest number of deaths and suspected cases of any country – although this may be due to stronger monitoring compared to other countries.

Leading experts fear health chiefs will not understand the cause of this strange pattern – which has infected at least 520 children worldwide since March – for months.

While mild hepatitis is not common in children, severe illness as seen in these cases is.

Dr. Jason Kendracchuk, associate professor of medical microbiology and infectious diseases at the University of Manitoba, Canada, said experts continue to investigate outbreaks around the world.

He told the Guardian: ‘The playing field changes from hour to hour. Inch by inch, we’re starting to figure out what the problem is.

“But I don’t think we have all those pieces of the puzzle to say ‘Well, this is what we think is happening.'”

The United States and Indonesia recorded five deaths in the outbreak, while Palestine and Israel each recorded one death.

Q&A: What is the global mysterious hepatitis outbreak and what’s behind it?

What is hepatitis?

Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver usually caused by a viral infection or liver damage from drinking alcohol.

Some cases resolve on their own, with no persistent problems, but some of them can be fatal, forcing patients to need a liver transplant to survive.

What are the symptoms?

People with hepatitis generally experience fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, light-colored stools, and joint pain.

They may also suffer from jaundice – when the skin and whites of the eyes turn yellow.

Why do experts care?

Hepatitis is usually rare in children, but experts have already discovered more cases in the current outbreak than they would normally expect within a year.

The cases are of “unknown source” and are also serious, according to the World Health Organization.

What are the most important theories?

co-infection

Experts say the cases may be related to the adenovirus, which is commonly associated with the common cold, but more research is ongoing.

This, combined with Covid infection, could cause a spike in cases.

About three-quarters of the cases in Britain have tested positive for the virus.

weak immunity

British experts tasked with investigating the wave of disease believe the endless cycle of lockdowns may have played a contributing role.

The restrictions may have weakened children’s immunity due to reduced social contact, making them more at risk of contracting adenovirus.

This means that even “natural” adenoviruses can cause dangerous outcomes, because children do not respond to them as well as they did in the past.

adenovirus mutation

Other scientists said it may have been the adenovirus that had acquired the “unusual mutations”.

This means that it could be more transmissible or more able to get around children’s natural immunity.

The new alternative to covid

UKHSA officials have included “a new type of SARS-CoV-2” in their working hypotheses.

Covid has caused hepatitis very rarely during the epidemic, although these cases have been of all ages and are not isolated in children.

environmental stimuli

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that environmental triggers are still being investigated as possible causes of disease.

This can include contamination or exposure to certain drugs or toxins.

2022-05-27 10:19:41

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