Mysterious hepatitis detected in children

One in ten affected children should undergo a liver transplant

Posted at 5:00 am

Alice Gerard Boss

Alice Gerard Boss

Canada recorded its first cases of mysterious hepatitis, which affected nearly 200 children in twelve countries, mainly in Europe and the United States. Journalism.

Canada’s Public Health Agency said Journalism Be aware of cases of “severe acute hepatitis of unknown origin” in young children in Canada. “These investigations are subject to further investigation to determine whether they are related to cases in the United Kingdom and the United States,” agency spokeswoman Charlene Suleiman said in a statement. The number of children and affected governorates has not been announced at the moment.

serious infection

Over the past few weeks, previously healthy children have developed hepatitis, or hepatitis. One died and nearly two dozen, or about 10% of the affected children, had to undergo a liver transplant. the reason ? It is currently unknown, but the hypothesis of infection with the virus is considered the most likely.

Twelve countries were affected

To date, 190 cases of this hepatitis of unknown origin have been identified, including 140 in Europe. “It is worrying. This is a big number and we have to be very careful,” says Drs Fernando Alvarez, director of the liver transplant program at CHU Sainte-Justine and professor at the University of Montreal School of Medicine. Most of the cases have been in the United Kingdom, but others have been reported in dozens of countries, including France, Israel, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands and Spain. In the United States, cases have also appeared in Illinois and North Carolina.

unknown cause

Scientists have identified six hepatitis viruses known so far, such as A, B, C, D, E, and G, but none of these common viruses has been discovered in this “mysterious hepatitis” that affects children. Although the source of this infection is unclear, one of the main suspects is the “adenovirus,” which has been detected in about 75% of confirmed cases. This common and well-known group of viruses is usually associated with the common cold. Dr. says.s Alvarez.

Symptom monitoring

The most common symptoms of this infection are dark urine, pale stools, jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and loss of appetite. If parents see their children showing symptoms of jaundice, they should not ignore it. says Naglaa Shukri, director of the Liver Immunology Laboratory at the Center’s Research Center. Hospital of the University of Montreal (CHUM) and Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Montreal.

There are no cases in Sainte-Justine Hospital

So far, experts have been consulted before Journalism No cases have been reported in Quebec. Dr. says.s Alvarez. The Children’s Liver Transplant Center at CHU Sainte-Justine, the only one in Quebec, performs about 10 transplants annually. In the face of the arrival of this mysterious hepatitis, we must be careful, the expert stresses. “We will have to be very attentive and try to determine the cause of this. As soon as we have more information, we will implement the necessary measures,” he said.

Children are the only ones affected

So far, all those infected have been children under the age of 16, but most were under 10, and many under 5. Why does this mysterious hepatitis target only children? Two years into the pandemic, scientists have raised the question of an immune “debt” that may make some children more fragile. “Children, due to confinement and COVID-19, have not been exposed to pathogens in the normal way, which may make them more susceptible to contracting this virus,” supports DDr Thanks. The different immune response between children and adults may also play a role, says Dr.s Alvarez.

Questions about COVID-19

The possibility of a link to COVID-19 is still rife, but seems unlikely, according to scientists who believe the number of hepatitis cases would be much higher if that were the case. The World Health Organization said the role of COVID-19 vaccines has also been ruled out, as the vast majority of children have not been vaccinated. Investigations are underway in all countries that have reported cases.

With Agence France-Presse and The Associated Press

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