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Scientists investigate the increase in mysterious child hepatitis

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control reported that global investigation had reached 450 cases of unexplained child hepatitis. It is much more than the most recent estimate of 348 by the World Health Organization.

More than 25 nations have reported cases of this liver inflammation, with the majority occurring in the United Kingdom (approximately 160 cases) and the United States (around 110).

Over 90 percent of U.S. patients have been hospitalized, and 14 percent have received liver transplants. Most afflicted are younger than five years old. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explore the possible connection between five kid fatalities.

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Despite the emergence of various possibilities, disease professionals remain unsure about the cause of these occurrences. The main assumption is an adenovirus, which frequently produces symptoms similar to the common cold or influenza, or gastrointestinal troubles.

The CDC announced Wednesday that more than half of the U.S. cases tested positive for adenovirus. Approximately 72 percent of cases in the United Kingdom and 60 percent of cases in Europe had the same cause.

However, it is uncommon for adenovirus to cause such significant liver damage.

Dr. Phillipa Easterbrook, a senior scientist at the WHO, stated on Tuesday that tissue and liver samples recently collected in the United Kingdom lack “any of the normal signs you might expect with a liver inflammation caused to adenovirus, but we are expecting additional evaluation of biopsies.”

What is the cause of these severe instances of hepatitis?

There are potentially hundreds of causes of hepatitis: Inflammation in the liver can be caused by chemicals, viruses, or contaminated food and water.

However, in recent cases, specialists have been focusing on adenovirus type 41, discovered in most cases in Europe and the United States. Adenovirus 41 typically causes an upset stomach in otherwise healthy children, although it is not typically connected with hepatitis.

Pediatric infectious diseases resident at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, Dr. Markus Buchfellner, was the first to observe the odd pattern of unexplained hepatitis in children in the United States and report it to the CDC. He and other specialists have questioned whether pandemic lockdowns lowered exposure to adenoviruses, thereby rendering young children more susceptible to infection.

However, doctors have not ruled out the idea that Covid-19 is a contributing factor, given the surge of cases that appears to have emerged during the epidemic.

“This is one of the most significant outstanding questions,” Buchfellner stated.

There is no evidence that coronavirus causes hepatitis directly in youngsters.



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