Mysterious cases of childhood hepatitis theories have emerged in Alabama 2022-04-28 07:00:00


As researchers work to unravel the mystery behind dozens of cases of hepatitis in children in Alabama and elsewhere around the world, some theories have emerged about a possible link to a common stomach virus.

Alabama officials have reported nine cases of hepatitis among previously healthy children — the largest proportion in the United States. The UK has reported 111 cases as of April 20. Doctors ruled out the five viruses that commonly cause liver disease and acetaminophen (Tylenol) poisoning, which can cause organ damage.

On Monday, the UK’s Health Security Agency released document Defining several working theories about the cause of unusual cases. Adenovirus, a common virus that usually causes a range of mild childhood illnesses, emerged as the main contender after most patients tested positive. But experts don’t know why it suddenly causes severe liver disease in otherwise healthy children.

It could be the result of limited exposure to viruses during a pandemic or possibly the result of COVID itself. The document said the main theory is that the adenovirus is worse than normal because children were not previously exposed to building their bodies’ defenses due to isolation. Or it could be due to a child having had previous COVID-19, including omicron variants. They did not rule out toxins or environmental exposures that may not be associated with adenoviruses and COVID-19 or a new type of adenovirus.

Most of the children in the report tested positive for adenovirus. Only 16 percent tested positive for COVID-19 at the time of admission to hospital. None of the patients in Alabama or the UK had received the COVID vaccine before they got sick.

Doctors in Alabama tell parents and pediatricians to be informed From symptoms of hepatitis to identify more cases and help determine the causes. Parents said Do not panic About hepatitis, which remains rare among healthy children. Although two children in Alabama required liver transplants, all nine have recovered. Seven children in the UK need transplants.

The Technical Bulletin covered cases in the UK only. It’s unclear how cases in Alabama can be linked to those seen in other countries, said Dr. Karen Landers, a district health officer for the Alabama Department of Public Health.

“At this time, ADPH cannot conclusively link what is happening in other parts of the world with cases of hepatitis in children with what happened in Alabama,” Landers said. “While adenovirus tested positive in nine cases in our case, it is still too early to conclude that this virus is the causative agent. Further research, discussion and monitoring is necessary.”

Although researchers have been cautious about linking cases, there are some similarities between groups in Alabama and the United Kingdom. All Alabama cases occurred in children younger than six years old. Most cases in the UK have also occurred in very young children.

Doctors in Alabama have not identified any new patients since February. At least 169 cases It has been reported in 11 countries, according to the World Health Organization.

Adenoviruses can cause fever, nausea, vomiting, and other symptoms. Health experts recommend washing hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water. The virus often spreads in childcare settings where children come into close contact.