Acute hepatitis in children: what we know about this liver infection seen in the UK

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Almost 74 cases of hepatitis have been reported in children under the age of 10, mostly in the UK. The World Health Organization has indicated that it intends to start research on the subject.

This is an unexplained phenomenon currently affecting young children across the Channel: several cases of hepatitis have been detected in the UK. In a press release published on Friday April 15, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that it intended to start research on the subject. The midi dispatch make the point

What happened ?

British health authorities have identified 74 cases of hepatitis as of Friday April 15: all have been reported to the World Health Organisation. “Of the confirmed cases, 49 are in England, 13 in Scotland and the others in Wales and Northern Ireland,” explains the UK Health Security Agency. Five other cases – confirmed or possible – have also been reported in Ireland and three more in Spain.

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So far, no case has been detected in France, but the WHO is expecting new reports, possibly in France: “From the moment it affects several geographical areas, several countries, it is possible,” estimates Yazdan Yazdanpanah, head of the Infectious Diseases Department of the Bichat Hospital in Paris, in the columns of Parisian.

What symptoms are described?

We are talking about an acute hepatitis that has never been identified before. The United Kingdom Health Safety Agency (UKHSA) lists several symptoms observed in affected patients: “dark urine, light and gray stools, itchy skin, yellowing of the eyes and skin, muscle and joint pain, high temperature, abnormal tiredness , loss of appetite and abdominal pain”.

Who are the patients affected by these inflammations?

This type of inflammation has been seen in the vast majority of children under the age of 10. Hepatitis of known origin, ie viruses A and E, was not detected in these children. Some cases have resulted in hospitalization at a service that specializes in liver disease. Six children were transplanted.

How can this inflammation be explained?

For the time being, the British health authorities are examining the hypothesis of a different type of virus (“adenovirus”) and other causes such as Covid-19 or environmental factors. Traces of food and/or drug infections are also examined.

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On the other hand, the trace of impairment from vaccination against Covid-19 was ruled out. It has not been given to any data subject in the UK. “No other epidemiological risk factor has been identified to date, including recent international travel,” says the WHO, which is “closely monitoring the situation.”

How can you fight back?

Meera Chand, of the UK Health Safety Agency (UKHSA), said in a statement that “normal hygiene practices” such as hand washing “help reduce many of the infections we are investigating” and urged parents and babysitters to look out for signs of to be alert to hepatitis, and “contact a doctor if you are concerned”.

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