A number of severe cases of liver inflammation (hepatitis) in previously healthy children have been reported since January 2022, with the vast majority of cases reported in the UK. Could adenovirus be the cause?
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The World Health Organization (WHO) recently identified around 348 probable cases of hepatitis of unknown cause.
Adenovirus is believed to be a possible cause and has been hypothesized to be a driving factor in childhood disease.
Adenoviruses are a group of viruses that can cause infections of many different types, meaning infection can occur more than once.
According to the UK Health Security Agency, adenovirus was the most common pathogen, found in 40 out of 53 confirmed cases in the UK.
The agency said that “research is increasingly suggesting that the rise in severe cases of hepatitis may be linked to adenovirus infection, but other causes are still being actively investigated.”
“In the last week there have been some important advances in further investigation and some refinement of the working hypotheses,” said Philippa Easterbrook of the WHO Global Hepatitis Program at a press conference.
Is hepatitis dangerous?
In most children and adults with a healthy immune system, adenoviruses pose no major health risks for mild illness that resolves within a week or two.
Viral hepatitis due to infection with adenoviruses has so far only been described as a rare complication.
Due to the number of recently reported cases and the severity of the disease in children, scientists are urgently investigating the cause of the outbreak.
Easterbrook added that the UK has coordinated a comprehensive series of studies looking at the genetics of affected children, their immune response, viruses and other epidemiological studies.
This is because more than 160 cases of hepatitis have been reported in the UK.
The scientist said there should be data from the UK within a week on a case-control study comparing whether the adenovirus detection rate differs from that in other hospitalized children.
“This will really help determine if Adeno is just an accidentally discovered infection or if there is a causal or probable causal relationship,” Easterbrook said.
It is known that most cases of hepatitis affect those who are five years of age or younger.
What are the symptoms of hepatitis?
Symptoms of hepatitis included gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea, vomiting and nausea.
Jaundice, which involves yellowing of the skin and eyes, is another commonly reported symptom.
dr Meera Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at UKHSA, said: “The information gathered from our investigations increasingly suggests that this increase in sudden onset hepatitis in children is linked to adenovirus infection.
“However, we are thoroughly investigating other possible causes.”
According to Kids Health, symptoms of adenovirus can include:
- eye redness and pain
- stomach pain
- Frequent peeing, burning pain when peeing, blood in the urine
https://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/coronavirus-hepatitis-children-symptoms-adenoviruses-26938580 Hepatitis symptoms in children are to be looked for as an infection related to a sudden increase in cases