Hepatitis in children: the trace of a virus favored by the United States

An analysis of mysterious cases of hepatitis in very young children in the United States led American health authorities to prioritize tracing an adenovirus on Friday to explain these severe liver inflammations, without however establishing it as a definitive cause.

Rather common viruses, adenoviruses are generally known to cause respiratory symptoms, conjunctivitis, or even digestive upset.

The United States is far from being the only country affected by this phenomenon of inexplicable hepatitis: dozens of cases have been identified across Europe, raising fears of a new epidemic.

“At this moment we believe in itan adenovirus could be the cause of these cases, but other environmental factors are still being studied“, wrote the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), the country’s leading federal public health agency. Specifically, the CDC points to the so-called” type 41 “adenovirus, so far best known for causing severe gastroenteritis.

Adenoviruses are well identified as causes of hepatitis, but so far only in immunocompromised children (i.e. whose immune systems are weakened).

A total of nine cases identified in Alabama between October 2021 and February 2022 were studied in detail. The children were about one to six years old and were otherwise all healthy.

Most of the children experienced vomiting and diarrhea and some respiratory symptoms.

Two children had to undergo a liver transplant. All are currently cured or in remission.

The nine small patients were found to be carriers of adenovirus. Five cases could be analyzed in the laboratory and thus adenovirus type 41 was detected.

The CDC ruled out several other causes, including Covid-19 infection and hepatitis A, B, and C viruses.

Six of the nine patients also tested positive for Epstein-Barr virus, but “had no antibodies, which implies a past infection, no longer active,” the US agency wrote.

He assured that he was in close contact with the European health authorities.

The cases are also being investigated in other states of the United States. Wisconsin health authorities said this week they are looking into four possible cases in children, including one death.

Last week, the CDC issued a health alert for doctors to notify authorities of any suspected cases of hepatitis of unknown origin.

Quite trivial viruses, adenoviruses are generally quite known for causing respiratory symptoms, conjunctivitis or even digestive disorders.The United States is far from the only country affected by this phenomenon of unexplained hepatitis: dozens of cases have been identified almost everywhere in Europe, increasing fears of a new epidemic. “Right now we believe that an adenovirus may be the cause of these cases, but other environmental factors are still being studied,” wrote the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the country’s leading federal public health agency. . More specifically, the CDC points to the so-called “type 41” adenovirus, so far best known for causing severe gastroenteritis. Adenoviruses are well identified as causes of hepatitis, but so far only in immunocompromised children (i.e. whose immune systems are weakened). A total of nine cases identified in Alabama between October 2021 and February 2022 were studied in detail. The children were between the ages of one and six and were all in good health. Most of the children experienced vomiting and diarrhea and some respiratory symptoms. Two children required liver transplants. All are currently cured or in remission. The nine small patients were found to be carriers of adenovirus. Five cases could be tested in the laboratory and then adenovirus type 41 was detected. The CDC ruled out several other causes, including Covid-19 infection and hepatitis A, B, and C viruses. Six of the nine patients also tested positive for Epstein-Barr virus, but “had no antibodies, which implies a past infection, no longer active,” the US agency wrote. She assured that she had been in close contact with the European health authorities and cases are also being studied in other American states. Wisconsin health authorities said this week they are looking into four possible cases in children, including one death. Last week, the CDC issued a health alert for doctors to notify authorities of any suspected cases of hepatitis of unknown origin.

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