Brazil monitors 46 cases of mysterious hepatitis in children

The Ministry of Health reported this Tuesday, 17, that it monitors 46 suspected cases of hepatitis of mysterious origin in children. So far, of the 49 notifications received by the folder, three have already been discarded. No notifications have been confirmed.

São Paulo is the state with the highest number of suspected cases, with 14 cases of mysterious hepatitis under investigation. There are cases under investigation in Minas Gerais (7), Mato Grosso do Sul (4), Rio Grande do Sul (3), Paraná (2), Rio de Janeiro (6), Espírito Santo (1), Goiás (1), Santa Catarina (4), Pernambuco (3) and Maranhão (1).

Brazil monitors 46 cases of mysterious hepatitis in children

Credit: Rasi Bhadramani/iStockThe disease has been reported in approximately 400 children from 20 countries

On Friday, the Ministry of Health set up a situation room to monitor suspected disease and survey evidence to identify possible causes.

The Ministry of Health has guided the health departments through risk communications. The guideline is that suspected cases are reported immediately, as well as any changes in the epidemiological scenario of states and municipalities.

Global Hepatitis Outbreak

Twenty-one countries have already detected severe hepatitis of unknown origin among children, mainly under the age of 10, since the beginning of April. At least 26 young people needed liver transplants.

It is not yet known exactly what is causing the disease, as no case so far has tested positive for the typical hepatitis A, B, C, D and E viruses. The condition is also not common in children. However, numerous theories are being analyzed by scientists around the world.

Possible causes of hepatitis outbreak

The strongest hypothesis so far is that the cases could be linked to adenovirus type 41, which is commonly associated with colds but which can also cause pneumonia, diarrhea and conjunctivitis.

This virus has been identified in the majority of reported cases in the UK (72%), Europe (over 60%) and the US (over 50%), according to a survey by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control. .


Credit: Christoph Burgstedt/istockAdenovirus was identified in most cases of mysterious hepatitis

Adenovirus 41 is usually spread through fecal matter, which makes proper hand washing essential, especially after changing diapers and going to the bathroom.

Covid may be related

Despite the line of investigation pointing to adenovirus, experts do not rule out the possibility that covid may have some important role in this story.

A study presented this week by researchers at Imperial College London in the UK and Cedars Sinai Medical Center in the US suggests that the recent cases were likely the result of a coronavirus infection followed by an adenovirus infection.


Credit: Eranicle/istockHepatitis is characterized by inflammation in the liver

According to them, SARS-COV-2 forms reservoirs that persist in the gastrointestinal tract even after infection and can lead to an inflammatory response, which results in inflammation in the liver.

This exaggerated activation of immune cells is also identified as a cause of the multisystem inflammatory syndrome observed in children with covid-19, at the beginning of the pandemic.

Many other theories are under investigation. See the main ones here.

Symptoms to watch out for

A classic symptom of hepatitis is jaundice, or yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes, which has been seen in many of the affected children, according to the WHO.

Many also had gastrointestinal symptoms, including abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting. Other symptoms of hepatitis can include fatigue, loss of appetite, dark urine, light-colored stools, and joint pain.

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