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Confinement, possible cause of acute hepatitis: pediatricians

Angeles Cruz Martinez

Newspaper La Jornada
Tuesday, May 24, 2022, p. eleven

The pandemic lockdown reduced the body’s exposure to pathogens normally found in the environment, and children, in particular, may now lack the training to face them. It is another of the theories around acute hepatitis of unknown cause that has been seen in several countries, pediatric specialists said.

In a conference, Sarbelio Moreno, director of Teaching and Academic Development of the Federico Gómez Children’s Hospital of Mexico (HIMFG), said that this explains the possible link between liver damage and adenoviruses.

He noted that these are one of many viruses Known causes of flu and throat infections common in childhood. Most episodes of these conditions are caused by these strains, which usually go away on their own. They also cause diarrhea and conjunctivitis.

The adenovirus 41 mentioned in cases of acute hepatitis was identified in 74 of 169 children who have had the infection, commented Ericka Montijo, a specialist in Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at HIMFG. She recalled that there are several agents that cause hepatitis and in up to 40 percent of cases its origin is unknown, so the phenomenon observed in different countries should not be cause for alarm, at least while research results are obtained.

The specialist also commented that less than 0.5 percent of cases of liver disease progress to serious conditions that require an organ transplant or lead to the death of patients.

For now, the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health indicate that in the presence of symptoms of liver damage, known viruses (A, B, C, D and E) should be ruled out. and consider it as a suspected case of hepatitis of unknown cause, if a clinical analysis identifies an elevation of liver enzymes in people under 16 years of age.

Gerardo López, pediatric allergist and infectologist, commented on a recent publication in the magazine The Lancetwhere another hypothesis is proposed that explains the possible relationship between SARS-CoV-2 and liver disease.

According to this theory, the permanence of the coronavirus for a long period in children in the digestive tract, potentially open the door to adenovirus 41, perhaps related to acute hepatitis.

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