The UK Health Safety Agency is investigating why 163 cases have been detected in the UK since January and said the “meaning of this finding is being investigated”.
(Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Health chiefs are investigating a possible link between pet dogs and a hepatitis outbreak affecting children around the world.
The UK Health Safety Authority (UKHSA) has identified a “high” number of children under the age of 10 who have contracted the disease, who belong to or have been exposed to a dog-owning family.
It is investigating why 163 cases of the liver disease have been detected in the UK since January, including 11 who required a transplant, and said the “importance of this finding is being studied”.
Experts have called the connection “a little far-fetched” given how many families in the UK own dogs.
shared content unit)
Officials said Friday another 18 children have contracted hepatitis, which is the term used to describe inflammation of the liver.
The data shows that almost 300 cases have now been identified worldwide. One person has died and four cases in the US and Indonesia are under investigation.
Scientists aren’t sure what causes the disease – with the common viruses hepatitis A, B, C, D and E excluded from the lab test results.
Medical chiefs believe an adenovirus could be to blame, but investigations are ongoing because they usually trigger stomach problems and the common cold.
It is known that dogs can be infected with two strains of adenovirus, including one that causes infectious hepatitis. The other is one of the pathogens that cause “kennel cough”.
The analysis found that around 75% of the 163 children in the UK who had hepatitis tested positive for adenovirus.
But the UKHSA concedes that the rest could have had the virus too, due to the way testing is being carried out.
Some of the cases that tested negative had only looked for adenovirus in respiratory and stool samples, although it is usually found in the blood.
One theory is that lockdowns have weakened children’s immunity, making them more vulnerable to the virus.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/health-chiefs-probe-link-between-26898719 Health chiefs investigate link between hepatitis outbreak and dogs