Common Viruses Could Be to Blame for Children’s Mysterious Hepatitis Case Outbreak

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Researchers now believe about common viruses that why some early toddlers experienced severe liver inflammation or hepatitis. According to the WHO, over 1,000 cases have been documented globally. There have been at least 22 reported deaths.

Researchers in the UK believe they may have found the source of an increase in unexplained cases of hepatitis in young infants. The World Health Organization reports that more than a thousand cases have been documented globally.

What Are The Common Viruses.?

Common Viruses adenoassociated virus 2The COVID-19 lockdown limits prevented infants from building an early immunity to infection by delaying their exposure to adenovirus and adenoassociated virus 2 (AAV2). This was discovered by two teams of researchers from Glasgow and London.

AAV2 often doesn’t create symptoms and requires another virus (like adenovirus or herpes) to replicate. Adenovirus typically causes colds and upset stomachs. Some infants without immunity may have developed hepatitis when these two prevalent viruses started spreading again after the pandemic limitations were lifted, according to research.

However, according to one researcher, AAV2 may have contributed to some children’s hepatitis prior to the lockdowns. Many of the kids also had immune system-threatening genetic abnormalities. Both research teams discovered that children’s livers were infected with an adenovirus, which was once thought to be the cause of hepatitis or an inflamed liver, and a form of herpes virus called AAV2.

The London study authors concluded that more research was needed to determine whether AAV2, which had not previously been linked to disease, could be causally implicated in the outbreak of unexplained hepatitis together with AdV-F41 (adenovirus) and/or HHV-6 (herpes virus).

The Glasgow-based researchers looked into any possible connections to COVID-19, but they could find no proof that the illness was responsible for the unexplained hepatitis cases.

According to Emma Thomson, PhD, a professor of infectious diseases at Glasgow University and a senior author of the Scottish study, “it’s quite possible that there’s been a trickle of cases before that we haven’t [noticed].” Therefore, she explained, “we don’t believe that lockdown caused this necessarily, but that the patterns may have changed so that we’ve seen the instances come in all at once instead of a constant trickle. Both studies have not undergone peer review and are still in the preprint stage.

A virus cannot reproduce itself

Common Viruses pediatric infectious diseasesAccording to Dr. Dolly Sharma, director of pediatric infectious diseases at Northwell Health’s Staten Island University Hospital in New York, AAV often needs a ‘helper virus,’ usually an adenovirus or a human herpes virus (HHV), to multiply.

In children who come with pediatric hepatitis from non-typical hepatitis viruses (A through E), preliminary data from investigations have revealed the presence of AAV with these other viruses, she noted.

It’s not obvious, according to Sharma, whether the presence of AAV indicates a co-infection with these other helper viruses. Or if contemporary pediatric hepatitis infections are being exacerbated by the reactivation of AAV from the underlying infection, she added.

A virus may have triggered an immunological response.

Common Viruses AAV2Dr. Ilan Shapiro, chief health correspondent and medical affairs officer at AltaMed Health Services, responded, “It can happen,” in response to the question of whether AAV2 would have indirectly caused hepatitis through an immunological response.

The fascinating part, he said, would be to see if they were able to reproduce the same results on a wider scale in other publications. When an adenovirus infection occurs, “this can potentially provide us more information if it was AAV2 that was truly causing the hepatitis, or if there’s a synergy there between both of them,” Shapiro said.

AAV has never been linked to an illness

Adeno-associated viruses are a particular class of virus that have not yet been definitively linked to any disorders, according to Dr. Diego R. Hijano, an expert in pediatric infectious diseases at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

He claimed that “these viruses are common and have been found in humans, other primates, sheep, cows, birds, and horses.” AAV infection has not been shown to have any detrimental effects in humans and is not currently thought to be dangerous.

Hijano clarified that AAV can create a “latent infection,” which is a characteristic of some other viruses, such as herpes. After an initial infection, they may “dorm” and “wake up” (reactivate), according to Hijano, in specific circumstances.

Common Viruses HSV-1 as children

He used herpes simplex I (HSV-1), which produces cold sores, as an example. Most people pick up HSV-1 as children, and many continue to get cold sores as adults in conditions like stress, intense heat, and extreme cold. He made the observation that AAV could be “rescued” from those “dormant” cells if they were infected with a helper virus.

Is it possible to lower the risk?

Common Viruses masksAccording to Shapiro, precautions like barriers, filters, masks, and hand washing can reduce the likelihood that AAV2 will result in an infection that develops into hepatitis. Additionally, he believes that additional study is required before we can be certain that AAV is to blame.

The figures given at this time provide us a clue, he continued, and we need to follow that to see whether these other cases and other pieces of information will aid us. He issued a warning, saying that “it’s still a little quantity of numbers to build an expectation that this will be the answer or the culprit of it” when compared to the overall number of cases we are seeing globally.

What are the 5 most common childhood illnesses?

Common Childhood Illnesses

1. Cold

Common Viruses Colds are brought on by virusesThe fact that the common cold is one of the most prevalent infections among children is not unexpected. Colds are brought on by viruses, which are easily transferred in settings where individuals are in close proximity to one another. Although there is no known treatment for the common cold, symptoms like fever, muscular aches, and headaches can be managed with over-the-counter drugs such acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Common Viruses Ear ache, fever, agitation, trouble sleeping

2. Otitis media

Some of the most typical childhood ailments are ear infections. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) claims that children are more likely than adults to have ear infections. Bacterial or viral infections can result in ear infections. Ear ache, fever, agitation, trouble sleeping, and ear pulling are among the symptoms.

3. Influenza 

Common Viruses InfluenzaInfluenza, more frequently referred to as the flu, is a type of virus that spreads quickly by coughing and sneezing from those who have it. Fever, chills, a sore throat, exhaustion, body pains, and weariness are some of the symptoms of this typical juvenile disease. The majority of cases may be managed at home by taking medication, drinking water, and getting some rest.

By ensuring that everyone has a flu shot every year, you can lessen the likelihood that you or your kids may contract the illness. It’s not a guarantee that you won’t become sick, but getting the flu shot can reduce your chance of contracting the most common strains. And if you do contract the flu, it might lessen the intensity and length of your symptoms.

Common Viruses hand, foot, and mouth disease

4. The illness Hand, Foot, and Mouth

Although highly contagious, hand, foot, and mouth disease (HMFD) is typically not very serious. It most frequently affects newborns and kids under the age of five, according to the CDC. Adults and older children can, however, contract it. Skin rash, fever, oral sores, and flu-like symptoms are among the symptoms.

5. Gastritis

Common Viruses GastritisThe stomach flu is another name for gastroenteritis, yet the flu is not at all what it is. But it is brought on by a virus that spreads swiftly, just like the flu. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are symptoms. The symptoms often go away in a couple of days, and the best therapy is rest and fluid administration to prevent dehydration brought on by vomiting and diarrhea.

The conclusion

Two separate study teams in the UK have come to the conclusion that the unexplained hepatitis infections in children around the world are likely being caused by two common viruses as well as possible genetic mutations.

Additionally, they claim that using handwashing and masks to avoid infection are effective approaches to lower a child’s risk of contracting this kind of hepatitis.


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