Business

Symptoms of mysterious liver disease affecting children linked to Covid

Health experts are looking into the likely cause of the new liver disease in children, first reported in the UK in January 2022, and whether it has anything to do with the coronavirus.

Fs Productions | Tetra Images | Getty Images

Japan has identified its first probable case of a mysterious liver disease that has affected more than 170 children to date, mostly in the UK, as health experts look into its possible link to Covid-19.

Japan’s health ministry said on Tuesday that a child was hospitalized with an unspecified type of severe acute hepatitis – or inflammation of the liver – in what is believed to be the first reported case in Asia.

As of April 23, at least 169 cases of the disease have been identified in 11 countries around the world. World Health Organization. The vast majority of these were in the UK (114), followed by Spain (13), Israel (12) and the US (9). The addition of Japan marks the 12th country to identify a case.

Of those infected, one child died and 17 required a liver transplant.

The WHO said that “it is very likely that more cases will be found before the cause is confirmed.”

Health Experts Explore Covid Links

Children aged five years and younger have so far been most commonly affected by the disease, although cases have been identified in children aged one month to 16 years.

Common symptoms include gastroenteritis – diarrhea and nausea – followed by jaundice or yellowing of the skin and eyes.

Health experts are currently investigating the likely cause of the outbreak, which was first reported in the UK in January 2022, and whether it has anything to do with the coronavirus.

In particular, they are investigating whether a lack of prior exposure to common viruses known as adenoviruses during coronavirus restrictions or a previous exposure to Covid-19 could be due. Alternatively, the genetic structure of hepatitis can mutate, making it easier for the liver to become inflamed.

Importantly, experts say there is no known link to the Covid-19 vaccine.

Typically, children are exposed to—and immune to—adenoviruses and other common diseases in early childhood. However, pandemic-related restrictions have largely limited this early impact.

Eric Lalmand | Afp | Getty Images

According to the UK Health Safety Authority, a strain of adenovirus called F41 looks like the most likely cause so far.

“Information gathered through our investigations increasingly suggests that this increase in sudden onset hepatitis in children is associated with adenovirus infection. However, we are carefully investigating other potential causes.” Mira Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at the UKHSA, said:

Adenovirus was the most common pathogen found in 40 of 53 (75%) confirmed cases tested in the UK. Globally, that number was 74.

Covid (SARS-CoV-2) has been identified in 20 people tested worldwide. Co-infection with adenovirus and Covid-19 was detected in 19 cases.

A new case from Japan has tested negative for adenovirus and coronavirus, although officials have not released other details.

What are the symptoms and how much should we be concerned?

Typically, children are exposed to—and immune to—adenoviruses and other common diseases in early childhood. However, pandemic restrictions have largely limited this early exposure, leading to more severe immune responses in some.

Adenoviruses, which present with cold-like symptoms such as fever and sore throat, are usually mild. However, some strains may show liver tropism or preference for liver tissue, which can lead to more serious consequences such as liver damage.

How serious this latest outbreak will be is not yet clear, and it will largely depend on how much it spreads in the coming months, said Dr. Amy Edwards, assistant professor of pediatrics at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine.

“Adenovirus is a ubiquitous virus and it is not seasonal. If it’s a more severe form of adenovirus that causes liver disease in children, that’s very worrisome. But now he is isolated enough, and there are few enough cases to not jump to conclusions, ”she said. CNNBC.

Edwards said health authorities are on alert and will be monitoring the situation.

At the same time, parents and caregivers should look out for common signs of hepatitis, including jaundice, dark urine, itchy skin, and abdominal pain, and see a doctor if they are concerned.

“Typical hygiene measures such as thorough handwashing (including babysitting) and meticulous respiratory hygiene help reduce the spread of many common infections, including adenovirus,” UKHSA’s Chand said.

“Children experiencing symptoms of a gastrointestinal infection, including vomiting and diarrhea, should stay at home and not return to school or daycare for 48 hours after the symptoms have resolved,” she added.


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button