In Ireland, a child died of mysterious hepatitis, as the number of deaths worldwide reached nine – scientists are not close to finding out the cause of the mystery.
- One child died of liver disease and the other needed a transplant
- Age was not disclosed, but Ireland said all six of his cases were under the age of twelve
- There are about 350 cases of “unknown hepatitis” in children around the world
A child in Ireland has become the latest victim of mysterious hepatitis in more than 20 countries.
Health officials said a second child, who was being treated for the same disease, had received a liver transplant.
The age of the children was not disclosed, but the Irish Health Service (HSE) said his cases were under 12 years old.
Six children have been hospitalized with hepatitis in Ireland since March, the HSE confirmed, “more than usual during this time.”
The latest death is expected to bring the death toll worldwide to nine, including five in the United States and three in Indonesia.
Since April, about 350 children with “unknown severe hepatitis” have been registered in 21 countries, 163 of them in the UK.
At least 26 young people need liver transplants, according to the latest update from the World Health Organization (WHO) last week.
Experts warn that the current situation could lead to the tip of the iceberg in some countries due to poor controls.
Researchers are puzzled as to what causes the disease, but the basic theory is that it is caused by a group of viruses that usually cause the flu.
The HSE said it had not been in contact with any of the cases in Ireland and that they had not been in contact with any of the patients in the UK. No one had Covid.
Ireland is working closely with its WHO and counterparts in the EU and the UK to determine the cause of the disease.
Parents are advised to consult a doctor if their child develops symptoms of hepatitis, including gray, gray stools, excessive black urine or jaundice of the eyes and skin.
The most common viruses that cause hepatitis are: hepatitis A, B, C, and E viruses; has not been identified in any of the reported cases worldwide.
In its most recent update on May 9, the WHO said there had been 348 reported cases of unknown hepatitis since it was first reported in Scotland in April.
All cases were among children between the ages of 11 months and five years, and “most” were positive for adenovirus.
The virus has not yet been identified in liver tissue samples analyzed, so “it may be a coincidence, not a causative factor,” the WHO said.
In a new guideline this week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told doctors treating children with hepatitis to take liver samples for analysis.
US STATES WITH ROADS: The map above shows 26 states where the CDC has confirmed or suspected hepatitis cases. Massachusetts and Hawaii, 25 and 26, respectively, said they were investigating suspected cases of the disease (yellow), while Puerto Rico reported at least one other case.
The study found that three-quarters of children in the UK with hepatitis B tested positive for adenovirus.
Researchers are investigating whether the evolution of a mutated strain of adenovirus has intensified or whether the lack of social intervention during a pandemic has weakened children’s immunity. They cannot rule out the presence of an old Covid infection.
In a surprising turn last week, UK health officials are also investigating whether the “dog impact” is to blame.
The UK Health Agency (UKHSA) said last week that a “large” number of British children with hepatitis came from families with dogs.
Officials have not explained how the dogs may be to blame, but they are known carriers of adenovirus strains.
However, health officials have ruled out the Covid vaccine as a possible cause, as most sick British children have not been vaccinated due to their age.
Hepatitis is usually rare in children, but experts have found more cases in the UK since January than they expected a year later.
Q&A: What is the enigmatic global hepatitis and what is behind it?
What is hepatitis?
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, usually caused by a viral infection or liver damage from alcohol consumption.
Some cases resolve on their own, there are no problems, but some may be fatal, and these patients need a liver transplant to survive.
What are the symptoms?
People with hepatitis often experience fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, light stools, and joint pain.
They can also suffer from jaundice – yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes.
Why are experts worried?
Hepatitis is more common in children, but experts have found that the current epidemic is more frequent than expected a year later.
According to the World Health Organization, the origin of the disease is unknown and serious. It caused two deaths and 18 liver transplants.
What are the higher theories?
Experts say these cases may be related to the common cold-related adenovirus, but further research is ongoing.
This can be combined with Covid infection and lead to an increase in cases.
The WHO says at least 74 cases of adenovirus have been detected. At least 20 children have been diagnosed with the coronavirus.
British experts, who are tasked with investigating many diseases, believe that the endless cycle of blockades may have played a role.
Restrictions can weaken children’s immunity and increase their risk of contracting adenovirus due to reduced social interaction.
This means that even “normal” adenovirus can have serious consequences, because children do not respond to it as before.
Other scientists say the adenovirus may have “special mutations.”
This means it can be contagious or can improve children’s natural immunity.
New Covid option
UKHSA staff included a “new version of SARS-CoV-2” in the working hypotheses.
Covid rarely caused inflammation of the liver during a pandemic, but they were present in people of all ages, not children.
The CDC noted that triggers are still being studied as possible causes of environmental diseases.
These may include contamination or exposure to certain drugs or toxins.