Experts are puzzled by the high incidence of hepatitis in children around the world

Experts are puzzled by the high incidence of hepatitis in children around the world

Cases of acute hepatitis in children have emerged over the past several months worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. The first US outbreak occurred in Alabama, but cases have now appeared in at least 25 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Hepatitis occurs when the liver is inflamed. The children in Alabama had “significant liver disease, including some with liver failure, with no known cause,” according to the CDC. As of May 5, the CDC said there were 109 known cases and five deaths. More than 90% of cases required hospitalization and 14% required a liver transplant.

So far, officials don’t know what caused these cases, Joseph Denorcia, special director of pediatric liver transplantation at Mount Sinai, told SELF. The cases were not associated with any known environmental factors or exposures, nor were they associated with a single geographic region. Although the cause has not been confirmed, experts have been investigating whether a specific type of adenovirus can be blamed, says Dr. de Norcia.

Adenoviruses cause a range of illnesses, including the common cold, according to the CDC. The adenovirus that could be responsible for cases of hepatitis in children is called adenovirus type 41, says Dr. Denorcia. The virus has been identified in blood samples from some, but not all, infected children. Researchers still don’t know if the relationship is causal — meaning that type 41 adenovirus leads to acute hepatitis — or whether it is a coincidence that some children with hepatitis also have type 41 adenovirus, according to Dr. de Norcia.

While type 41 adenovirus is the leading theory at the moment, Dr. Dinorcia says some are questioning whether COVID-19 could be linked to the cases. Most of the infected children are in the two- to five-year age range, he explains, adding that since vaccines have not been cleared for children under the age of five yet, some believe that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, could potentially lead to infection. be responsible.

Although SARS-CoV-2 could be linked, experts say that vaccines that prevent severe illness and death from COVID-19 are not responsible, says Dr. Denorcia. Most cases occur in children who have not been vaccinated. There is no link between the vaccine.”

While the number of cases is still relatively low, says Dr. fatigue; Gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Anorexia; Jaundice, which causes yellowing of the skin and eyes, dark urine, or light stools. Joint pain and muscle pain. Since these symptoms can be caused by a number of diseases – some serious, some not – Dr. DiNorcia recommends paying attention to some of the major determinants that may indicate the need for a doctor’s appointment. “If a child is not able to drink water and eat, this definitely indicates that you should talk to a health care provider,” he says. He recommends paying attention to your child’s energy level and seeking help if he seems particularly tired.

It’s also worth making sure your child is up to date on all of his or her vaccinations, some of which prevent hepatitis, says Dr. de Norcia. If you are not sure if your child has received all the recommended vaccinations for his or her age group, contact your pediatrician.

If a case of acute hepatitis in a child is confirmed, health care providers should report it to the local health department, says Dr. Denorcia, to help experts better understand what could be behind these conditions.

For now, parents should monitor their children’s health and make sure they receive all recommended vaccinations, but experts don’t recommend keeping children home away from school or any other precautions. Dr. Denorcia emphasizes that cases are still few and far between: “It’s still very rare. Parents shouldn’t be overly anxious, but just be aware,” he says. “It’s not very satisfying, but awareness is key.”

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2022-05-13 18:54:26

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