For several weeks now, the mysterious childhood hepatitis has been spreading around the world. The cases of contaminated children are always more numerous, as well as the deaths which are associated with it. However, diligent research work by scientists still fails to determine the origin of this disease…
Today there are 348 reported cases worldwide. To date, 4 children, mostly from Indonesia, have already died from this serious hepatitis. If the pathology initially appeared in Europe, the United States are now very strongly affected by this mysterious disease.
United States health authorities have announced that they are working on approximately 109 serious cases of unexplained childhood hepatitis. Virtually all infected children, nearly 90%, have been placed in hospitals. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 15 children have required liver transplants to stay alive. Of all the American child victims, 5 died.
The growing number of cases and deaths is of growing concern. Although scientists say that complications from the disease remain rare, the mystery surrounding its origin is causing growing anxiety around the world.
The WHO hypothesizes about the causes of this hepatitis
“The most frequent causes of hepatitis, which are viruses A, B, C, D and E, have not been found, after analysis of these new cases”, declared Enrique Perez, incident manager at the Pan American office of the WHO. According to the latter, these cases of unknown hepatitis have been identified in 20 countries. In all, 70 other suspected cases in 13 countries remain to be confirmed by tests. Only six countries have more than five cases, however, the UK alone has reported 160 cases.
“Significant progress has been made with regard to further investigations and the refinement of working hypotheses,” Philippa Easterbrook, of the WHO’s global hepatitis program, announced during a press conference. “At this time, the main hypotheses remain those involving adenovirus, also taking into important consideration the role of Covid, either as a co-infection or as a prior infection,” asserted Philippa Easterbrook.
Last week, tests carried out revealed that almost 70% of patients carried an adenovirus, in particular subtype 41 – which is normally associated with gastroenteritis – she continued. Transmission of adenoviruses occurs through personal contact, projection of respiratory droplets and surfaces. They cause respiratory problems, conjunctivitis or digestive problems.
In addition, tests have shown that around 18% of patients have Covid-19. “We will focus on serological testing for previous Covid exposures and infections,” Easterbrook said. Following the detection of the first 169 cases, the WHO announced that the hepatitis A, B, C, D and E viruses had not been detected in any of the patients.