What is the childhood hepatitis? World Health Organization (WHO) has set off alarms by indicating that it is a very urgent problem and that it has been spreading to several countries with lethal consequences.
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The situation is being monitored and countries, such as Peru, have put health facilities on alert for possible cases. Until May 10, 2022, 348 cases of this disease have been registered in 20 countries and possible cases are analyzed in another 17.
The figure is increasing, because as of May 3, 200 confirmed cases had been counted since April 15. If you want to know more about this mysterious disease, such as its symptoms and what it is about, read on.
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WHAT IS SEVERE ACUTE HEPATITIS?
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, which has been affecting children between six and 16 years old. It can be caused by different factors such as an infection or drug or substance intoxication. The most frequent infectious agents are the viruses responsible for hepatitis A, B, C, D and E, explains the Pan American Health Organization.
When the inflammation occurs quickly and abruptly, we speak of acute hepatitis. In some cases, such as hepatitis B, C and D, the infection can become chronic.
In recently reported cases of childhood hepatitis, at the momentlaboratory tests exclude cases of known viral hepatitis. In many cases, however, adenovirus infection (a common virus that can cause respiratory symptoms or vomiting and diarrhoea) was found in the children and the link between these two is being investigated as one of the hypotheses about the underlying causes.
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WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF MYSTERIOUS SEVERE ACUTE HEPATITIS?
Acute hepatitis has different symptoms:
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
- Threw up.
- Muscle pain.
- Breathing problems (in some cases).
WHEN TO GO TO THE DOCTOR?
The Ministry of Health (Minsa) of Peru, where no cases have been registered, indicated that, in the presence of symptoms associated with a case of hepatitis, one should go to public and private health centers for the evaluation of the case and immediate investigation.
WHAT CAUSES CHILDHOOD SEVERE ACUTE HEPATITIS?
The WHO indicates that, at the moment, the cause of this disease that has been affecting children is unknown. He adds that it is most likely an infectious cause. However, no common link to an identifiable contaminated or toxic food was established.
An analysis in the United States led the country’s health authorities to think that its origin could be a pathogen called adenovirus 41, but it remains a hypothesis.
IS SEVERE ACUTE HEPATITIS LINKED TO CORONAVIRUS?
Dr. Elmer Huerta, oncologist and specialist in Public Health, explains the details of a mysterious and unknown hepatitis affecting children in the USand that until now it has not been possible to verify that it is related to the spread of the coronavirus.
For its part, the WHO indicates that, according to current information, it has not been detected that this outbreak is related to the application of vaccines against COVID-19. In that sense, he explained that the majority of affected children did not receive the aforementioned vaccine. In some cases, the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was detected, but this is a line of research in addition to others, such as that of the adenovirus.
IN WHICH COUNTRIES HAS SEVERE ACUTE HEPATITIS BEEN REPORTED?
The Pan American Health Organization indicates that, as of May 10, 2022, more than 348 cases have been reported in 20 countries. Three deaths and 17 liver transplants associated with the disease have been registered, the cause of which is being analyzed.
The majority in the United Kingdom, which was the first country to report the occurrence of cases to the WHO. Because this is a rare case, these are cases of severe acute hepatitis where hepatitis A, B, C, D, or E have not been identified. The specific cause is unknown and under investigation.
In the Americas, cases have been reported in the United States and Argentina. The countries of the region, such as Peru, are oriented to monitor the situation. PAHO, for its part, is informing the countries about criteria and definitions for monitoring. Cases have been reported in Italy, Denmark, Belgium, Spain, Israel, the United States.
he last country to report cases was Indonesia, where the three deaths arising from this mysterious hepatitis. The WHO indicated that there are 70 additional cases from 13 other countries that are under investigation to be classified as suspicious.