More cases of the mysterious severe hepatitis in children, which has already affected a small number of young people in Ireland, are expected across Europe, a disease watchdog warned yesterday.
The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said it is reinforcing good practices such as careful hand hygiene by children and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces in facilities they visit.
The warning came as cases have surged in Ireland, as well as the UK, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France and other European countries.
In its rapid risk assessment yesterday, it said the exact cause of the hepatitis, which has caused one death, is unknown.
The “working theory” here is that a “cofactor” affecting children with an adenovirus infection that would normally be mild triggers a more severe infection or “immune-mediated liver damage.”
It said an increase in the spread of adenovirus has been observed in the UK, coinciding with the rise in cases of severe hepatitis in children.
“If adenovirus is found to be the causative or contributory pathogen, a similar increase in adenovirus circulation may result in an increase in severe hepatitis in other countries.”
Given that some children required liver transplantation, the potential impact is considered high.
“The current hypothesis is that infection or co-infection by human adenovirus is the most likely pathogen.”
However, other causes are still under investigation and have not yet been ruled out.
The Covid-19 vaccination was ruled out as a cause.
The number of Covid-19 patients in hospital fell to 412 yesterday, down 23 on Wednesday – the lowest since late December. Of these, 36 are in intensive care.
There were 1,149 people who tested positive by a PCR test and another 1,221 who registered a positive home antigen test.
18 Covid-19 deaths were reported last week with a median age of 82.
So far, 7,016 Covid-19-related deaths have been reported during the pandemic, of which 4,012 are related to outbreaks.
Among them are 2,440 in nursing homes.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/warning-of-more-cases-of-mystery-hepatitis-in-children-expected-throughout-europe-41598783.html Warning of more cases of mysterious hepatitis in children expected across Europe