427 Acute Liver Cases in Children Continue Baffling Health Experts
Health experts across the globe recently issued updates on the ongoing investigation into liver inflammation in children.
On May 6, 2022, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that the unexplained acute liver cases in children had reached 24 states and Puerto Rico.
The CDC confirmed there are now 109 known pediatric liver cases of unknown cause. Unfortunately, there have been seven liver transplants and five related fatalities since October 2021.
Furthermore, there is no known association with hepatitis viruses (A to E) in these children, who were found with serum transaminases greater than 500 IU/l.
The CDC’s deputy director of infectious diseases, Dr. Jay Butler, commented during a telebriefing that 'of the diagnosed children, 90% were hospitalized, with some children still hospitalized.’
And about 50 % of the children had confirmed adenovirus 41F infections. However, he emphasized that the virus might not cause these liver inflammations and that clinical investigators have cast a global net searching for the actual reason.
The association with adenovirus is undergoing a formal epidemiological study.
Similarly, the U.K. Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published updated reports, which increased the worldwide number of cases to 427 from about 30 different countries.
Dr. Meera Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at UKHSA, commented ‘Currently, there is no evidence of any link to COVID-19 vaccination since most cases are under five years old and are too young to have received the vaccine.’
‘However, about 15% of these children tested positive for a SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection.’
The UK’s Technical Report #2 stated, ‘There is no known association with travel, and hepatitis viruses (A to E) have not been detected in these children.’
Most researchers involved in these liver failure investigations have not formulated a hypothesis and continue to question causality vs. coincidence.
The following hypotheses are all being actively tested by the UKHSA investigations in the process:
- A typical adenovirus infection
- A novel variant adenovirus, with or without a contribution from a cofactor as listed above
- A post-infectious SARS-CoV-2 syndrome
- A drug, toxin, or environmental exposure
- A novel pathogen either acting alone or as a coinfection
- A new variant of SARS-CoV-2
On April 29, 2022, the CDC issued an early-release Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report that stated ‘ the CDC is monitoring the situation closely to understand the possible cause of illness and identify potential efforts to prevent or mitigate disease.’
Moreover, ‘clinicians are encouraged to report possible cases of pediatric hepatitis with unknown etiology occurring on or after October 1, 2021, to public health authorities for further investigation.’
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- Investigation into acute hepatitis of unknown aetiology in children in England
- ECDC: COMMUNICABLE DISEASE THREATS REPOR
- CDC: Update on Acute Hepatitis of Unknown Cause
- CDC: Acute Hepatitis and Adenovirus Infection Among Children - Alabama, October 2021 - February 2022
- ADENOVIRUS HEPATITIS CASES IN CHILDREN 2022