Severe hepatitis: Scientists may have pinpointed cause of the outbreak in kids

Scientists believe they may have discovered the cause of a mysterious outbreak of liver disease that affected children around the world last year.

Researchers from the University of California and the New York State Department of Public Health present new evidence in a study published Thursday in the scientific journal Nature. Linking hepatitis outbreaks to adenovirus It can cause a variety of illnesses, including the common cold and adeno-associated viruses.

Scientists and health officials were baffled last April when children in Britain, Spain, Israel, the United States, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Italy, Norway and France suddenly began contracting hepatitis of unknown origin. By May, a rare case of childhood hepatitis was also reported from a Canadian hospital.

By August 2022, 35 countries had reported outbreaks.

To date, the outbreak has been associated with 1,000 cases of acute childhood hepatitis worldwide. As a result of the outbreak, 50 children required liver transplants and at least 22 died.

Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver. Acute hepatitis occurs when liver function is impaired in her less than 6 months. It is usually associated with viruses such as hepatitis A, B, and C, but can also have other triggers.

During the first outbreak, nearly half of hepatitis cases were associated with adenovirus infection. With funding from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, senior author Charles Qiu, Ph.D., and collaborators set out to investigate this link further.

“We were surprised by the fact that the infections detected in these children were caused by a common childhood viral pathogen rather than by an unusual emerging virus. Media release.

Adenoviruses constitute a large family of viruses that can spread from person to person, causing a variety of illnesses such as the common cold, pink eye, and gastroenteritis. Adeno-associated viruses are also circulating in the human population. . Alone it is not known to cause disease, but when combined with a “helper” virus such as adenovirus, it can replicate in the liver and cause liver inflammation.

The occurrence shortly after schools reopened for face-to-face learning suggests that students affected by the outbreak were exposed to a combination of adenoviruses and adeno-associated viruses at school and developed hepatitis as a result. was

What Chiu and his co-authors found through their research supports this theory.

Starting October 1, 2021, the team will collect plasma, whole blood, nasal swabs, and stool samples from 16 pediatric patients in six states: Alabama, California, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, and South Dakota. Samples were tested using PCR and several other testing methods. Until May 22, 2022. They compared those specimens to 113 control samples.

Genotyping of blood samples found adeno-associated virus 2 (AAV2) in 93% of cases and adenovirus in all cases. Eleven of these cases were specifically associated with the type of adenovirus associated with gastroenteritis. In addition to these infections, we found additional infections with Epstein-Barr, herpes and enteroviruses in 88% of the samples.

“Our results suggest that co-infection with AAV2 may cause more severe liver disease than infection with adenovirus or herpesvirus alone,” the authors wrote. The severity of the disease caused by co-infection with hepatitis D virus-induced liver failure.

Their findings are consistent with those of two other studies conducted in the UK, where the same AAV2 strain was found in samples of affected children. All three studies confirmed co-infection with multiple viruses, and 75% of the children in Chiu’s study had his three or her four viruses.

Clusters of acute severe hepatitis in children are declining, but the best way to protect children from this condition in the future is to reduce the risk of common childhood infections by practicing hand hygiene and staying home when sick. It is to prevent the spread.

Using files by Solarina Ho and Rhythm Sachdeva

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button