A study finds no increase in cases of childhood hepatitis since the pandemic
No increase in cases of childhood hepatitis since the pandemic Between October and February, a cluster of unexplained juvenile hepatitis cases in Alabama spurred a global study, raising concerns about the potentially deadly consequences of adenovirus and COVID-19 on children’s livers.
However, researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have discovered that between 2018 and 2022, hospital visits for pediatric hepatitis and liver transplants did not increase. Despite an increase in tests since March, positive results for adenovirus, the prime suspect in the Alabama hepatitis cases, remained stable.
According to the CDC, cases of unexplained paediatric hepatitis, or liver infection, have always occurred and are rare. Hepatitis A, B, and C are three viruses that cause a lot of hepatitis in the United States. Doctors at Youngsters of Alabama noted an odd spike of hepatitis cases among children between October 2021 and February 2022 that weren’t caused by the three most frequent viruses. Doctors discovered nine infants with liver illnesses, two of whom needed liver transplants.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a threat to doctors about the epidemic, prompting them to report any similar cases. Officials uncovered 180 cases that seemed to be comparable to those in Alabama in 36 states. Cases have been discovered in countries other than the United States, along with the United Kingdom, with over 200 cases documented.
Adenovirus was found in all nine Alabama patients, with five of them testing positive for adenovirus 41. Many international patients were also infected with the virus, which drew experts’ attention. Adenoviruses are typically associated with respiratory or gastrointestinal disorders, but they have not been linked to hepatitis in otherwise healthy children. Prior infection with COVID-19, according to some specialists, may have played a role in the hepatitis cases.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studied access data for liver diseases and transplants in hospitals.” Data from four large administrative databases were analyzed to identify trends in pediatric hepatitis and the proportion of stool specimens positive for adenovirus type 40/41,” according to the summary. “Neither result has recently risen above pre–COVID-19 pandemic levels, according to these studies.”A median of 32 children aged 0 to 11 years old was acknowledged to the hospital with hepatitis per month. Each month, a median of four children under the age of 18 received liver transplants, according to the study.
Because doctors and other health care providers aren’t compelled to report hepatitis and adenovirus cases to public health agencies, data on these diseases is sparse. The true baseline number of cases, according to the researchers, is unclear. In addition, there is a reporting lag for hospitalizations, which could impact the data starting in March 2022.
The report only looked at incidents that occurred in the United States, not cases that occurred in other countries. Since February, Alabama officials have not recorded any new instances.