In April, health alarms were triggered due to an outbreak of hepatitis child of unknown origin, with more than 600 cases reported worldwide. The first hypotheses quickly point to a possible relationship between these infections and increased exposure of children after restrictions end for the coronavirus. However, a preliminary study published in the United Kingdom seems to confirm this relationship.
According to research conducted by the University of Glasgow (Scotland) and University College Londona combination of two viruses that returned after the pandemic may be responsible for these unusual cases of acute childhood hepatitis.
The study suggests that due to the covid pandemic, some children were not exposed early to common virusesamong them the adenoviruswhich often causes colds and gastrointestinal problems, and the so-called adeno-associated virus 2 (AAV2), which normally requires co-infection with adenoviruses or others to replicate.
In this way, to being exposed without immunity to these two viruses, it is possible that predisposed children develop liver diseasepoint out the experts. And it is that, as explained Judith Breuervirology expert at University College London and Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, “When restrictions were lifted, children started to mix and viruses flowed freely again.”
Another of the experts involved in the study, Emma Thompson, An infectious disease specialist at the Glasgow Virus Research Centre, said “larger studies are urgently needed to investigate the role of AAV2 in pediatric hepatitis”.
“We also need to better understand the seasonal circulation of AAV2, a virus that is not routinely monitored. It could be that a peak in adenovirus infection coincides with a peak in AAV2 exposure, leading to an unusual manifestation of hepatitis in susceptible young children,” he says.