5 things you need to know about pediatric hepatitis and recent misunderstandings

There have been a number of cases of unexplained pediatric hepatitis around the world recently, much to the surprise of health professionals and the authorities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 109 cases in the United States last week.

The CDC also confirmed five deaths and 14 percent of patients receiving liver transplants. The average age of children diagnosed with these unexplained cases of acute hepatitis in the United States is 2 years.

Hepatitis and inflammation of the liver in young children are often caused by viral infections. Adenovirus, a very common pathogen in children, has been identified in more than half of these cases, but no contact has yet been established.

Adenovirus infections usually occur as inflammation of the lungs or stomach. However, the link between the virus and inflammation of the liver has not been heard, especially among people with weakened immune systems. Regular hygiene measures, such as hand washing, are effective in limiting the spread of adenovirus.

As the situation develops, here are five things you need to know about pediatric hepatitis:

Signs of potential childhood hepatitis are obvious

Rima Fawaz, a doctor and medical director of pediatric hepatology and pediatric liver transplantation at Yale Medical School, told The Hill that it is difficult to ignore the symptoms of hepatitis in children.

“They get sick,” Fawaz said. “Not all patients were diagnosed with severe hepatitis. … I would think they look a little yellow.

Symptoms of hepatitis include vomiting, dark urine, clear stools and jaundice, and yellowing of the skin. According to Fawaz, children with the disease do not play or run as if nothing had happened; they will obviously get sick.

Clinics across the country have been advised by the CDC to report possible cases of pediatric hepatitis of unknown cause, as well as to test for adenovirus. Because of the prevalence of adenovirus, it is not a commonly tested pathogen.

Most cases of acute hepatitis in children are completely cured

According to Fawaz, in most cases, severe hepatitis “cures on its own.”

“It is completely good that the child does not have chronic diseases and does not have chronic liver disease. Thus, usually severe hepatitis is cured and the patient is in good condition, ”he added.

The annual survival rate for acute hepatitis is over 90 percent and usually has “excellent results,” Fawaz said.

“In general, most of these children have recovered completely,” a CDC official told a news briefing in the United States.

According to Fawaz, in cases of liver failure and transplantation, it is necessary to use immunosuppressive drugs for the rest of his life, as in the case of organ transplantation.

As with most cases of acute pediatric hepatitis, adenovirus is usually self-limiting and does not require treatment.

It is unknown whether the latest reports indicate an increase in cases

The CDC recently acknowledged that it was unclear whether these outbreaks were indicative of an increase in hepatitis or whether the agency was simply holding on to an ongoing trend due to extended testing.

“Currently, we have not seen an increase in the number of patients with pediatric hepatitis above the initial figure,” a CDC official said recently, but that does not mean it has increased, as they have not noticed an increase. is not happening.

According to the CDC, the potential link between the adenovirus and other cases of hepatitis was significant, but the cases did not appear to be above baseline.

The latter cases do not appear to be related to COVID-19

Because most of the affected children are young, most are unsuitable for COVID-19 vaccines, which precludes the possibility of unexpected side effects from the vaccine. The World Health Organization (WHO), which supports the study of hepatitis cases around the world, says the disease has been diagnosed in children aged 1 month to 16 years.

According to the CDC, most children who develop hepatitis for unknown reasons do not have a documented history of coronavirus, and it is highly unlikely that these cases are due to the virus or prolonged COVID-19.

At least 11 countries have reported cases of unknown causes

According to the World Health Organization, at least 11 cases of acute pediatric hepatitis of unknown cause have been reported almost exclusively in North America or Europe.

All cases were reported in the United Kingdom, Spain, Israel, the United States, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Italy, Norway, France, Romania, and Belgium.

There are currently the most confirmed cases in the UK, 163 cases, no deaths and 11 liver transplants.

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