Acute hepatitis in children: what we know about these liver inflammations seen in the UK

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Almost 74 cases of liver inflammation have been reported in children under 10 years of age, mainly in the UK. The World Health Organization has indicated that it wants to start research on this topic.

It is a for the moment inexplicable phenomenon that currently affects young children, on the other side of 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 wanted to launch an investigation into this issue. the midi office Make the point.

What happened ?

British health authorities have identified 74 cases of liver inflammation as of Friday, April 15: all have been reported to the World Health Organization. “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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At the moment, no case has been detected in France, but the WHO awaits new reports, possibly in France: “As long as it affects several geographical areas, several countries, it is possible”, estimates Yazdan Yazdanpanah, head of the infectious department. disease department of the Bichat hospital in Paris, on the columns of the Parisian.

What symptoms are described?

We are talking about an acute hepatitis never identified until now. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) lists several symptoms that have been observed in affected patients: “dark urine, pale and gray stools, itchy skin, yellowing of the eyes and skin, muscle and joint pain , high temperature, abnormal fatigue, loss of appetite and stomach pains”.

Who are the patients affected by these inflammations?

This type of inflammation has been observed mostly in children under 10 years of age. Hepatitis of known origin, ie virus A and E, was not detected in these children. Some cases have led to hospitalization in a specialized liver disease service. Six children underwent a transplant.

How to explain these inflammations?

At the moment, the British health authorities are examining the hypothesis of another type of virus (“adenovirus”) and other causes such as Covid-19 or environmental factors. Traces of food and/or drug infections are also studied.

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On the other hand, the clue of an adverse effect caused by vaccination against Covid-19 has been ruled out. It has not been given to any affected person in the UK. “No other epidemiological risk factor has been identified to date, including recent international travel,” says the WHO, which “closely follows the situation.”

How to protect against that?

Meera Chand of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said in a statement that “normal hygiene measures” such as handwashing “help reduce many of the infections that we are investigating” and asked parents and caregivers to be alert for signs of hepatitis, and “contact a health professional if concerned.”

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