108 Pediatric Hepatitis Cases in the UK With Suspected Linkage to Adenovirus
Various United Kingdom (UK) health agencies today reported their hepatitis / adenovirus investigations had identified an additional 34 cases, bringing the total number of cases to 108.
Of these cases, eight children have received liver transplants.
Of the confirmed cases, 79 are in England, 14 are in Scotland, and the 15 remaining children were located in Wales and Northern Ireland.
All the UK children affected presented to health services between January 2022 and April 12, 2022.
The UK’s Health Security Agency (UKHSA), Public Health Scotland, Public Health Wales, and the Public Health Agency are continuing to investigate this increase in ‘sudden onset hepatitis’ in children where the usual viruses that cause infectious hepatitis (hepatitis A to E) have not been detected.
The investigation, including information from patient samples and surveillance systems, points towards a link to adenovirus infection.
Seventy-seven percent of cases tested were positive for adenovirus.
‘We are also investigating whether there has been a change in the genome of the adenovirus.’
However, as it is not usual to see this disease pattern from adenovirus, we are actively investigating other possible contributing factors, such as another infection (including COVID-19) or an environmental cause, says the UKHSA.
Furthermore, the UKHSA says ‘there is no link to the COVID-19 vaccine since none of the currently confirmed cases in the UK is known to have been vaccinated.’
Dr. Meera Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at UKHSA, stated in a media release issued on April 21, 2022, “Information gathered through our investigations increasingly suggests that this is linked to adenovirus infection.”
“However, we are thoroughly investigating other potential causes.”
“Normal hygiene measures such as thorough handwashing (including supervising children) and good thorough respiratory hygiene help reduce the spread of many common infections, including adenovirus.”
“We are also calling on parents and guardians to be alert to the signs of hepatitis (including jaundice) and to contact a healthcare professional if they are concerned.”
Adenovirus - hepatitis cases have also been confirmed in children in Alabama, Israel, the Netherlands, and Spain in 2022.
According to the U.S. CDC, adenoviruses are common respiratory viruses that cause various illnesses at any age. More than 50 types of immunologically distinct adenoviruses can cause infections in humans, says the CDC.
During the investigations, doctors have found that some children tested positive for a specific adenovirus infection, adenovirus 41, that usually causes diarrhea and vomiting.
According to the CDC, as of April 21, 2022, there is no adenovirus vaccine available to the general public.
However, there is an adenovector vaccine available for most U.S. military personnel.
Additionally, the CDC published 'Recommendations for Adenovirus Testing and Reporting of Children with Acute Hepatitis of Unknown Etiology.'
The Health Advisory CDCHAN-00462 serves to notify U.S. clinicians who may encounter pediatric patients with hepatitis of unknown etiology to consider adenovirus testing and elicit reporting of such cases to state public health authorities and the CDC.
Nucleic acid amplification testing is preferred for adenovirus detection and may be performed on respiratory specimens, stool or rectal swabs, or blood.
Additional adenovirus news is posted at PrecisionVaccinations.com/Adenovirus.
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Note: This news article edited UK information for clarity and was manually curated for mobile readership.