Doctors are studying whether the spread of adenoviruses – which cause the common cold – may be linked to cases of acute hepatitis in young children, which have occurred in Ireland and the UK.
he HSE said that a very small number of unrelated cases of severe hepatitis have been diagnosed here in children. It follows an alert from health authorities in the UK that has seen more than 70 children unexpectedly affected by the disease.
The European Center for Disease Control (ECDC) has issued guidelines for doctors in Europe, including how children should be screened.
There is no link to the Covid-19 vaccine and none of the reported children in England diagnosed with acute hepatitis have been vaccinated.
One strand of investigation is a possible association with adenovirus infection, although no cause has yet been confirmed. This is a family of common viruses that usually cause a range of mild illnesses, most of which recover without complications.
They can cause a range of symptoms, including colds, vomiting, and diarrhea. Although they do not usually cause hepatitis, it is a known rare complication of the virus.
Parents are advised that the best way to reduce a child’s risk of contracting adenovirus is to encourage good hand and respiratory hygiene. Children should wash their hands before eating and after using the toilet. They should cover their nose and mouth and throw tissues in a trash can.
In Northern Ireland, fewer than five children have been diagnosed with severe hepatitis. dr Gillian Armstrong, interim head of the North’s Public Health Agency (PHA), said they were working with colleagues in England, Scotland and Wales to look at a variety of possible factors causing the condition.
The HSE said there was no clear evidence linking the cases. Pediatricians have been alerted as a precaution to watch for possible symptoms such as signs of jaundice, itchy skin, fever, nausea and abdominal pain.
In the UK, a very small number of children have required liver transplants.
Other theories being explored include a delayed response to Covid infection. ECDC said none of the cases had detected common viruses that can cause hepatitis viruses A, B, C, D and E.
Some of the children hospitalized in England had Covid and others the adenovirus. They developed severe acute hepatitis, often associated with jaundice, sometimes preceded by gastrointestinal symptoms including vomiting.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/common-virus-might-be-linked-to-outbreak-of-severe-hepatitis-in-children-41551808.html The common virus could be linked to outbreaks of severe hepatitis in children