- This hepatitis has caused fewer than 12 deaths worldwide.
- More than 80 types of adenovirus can infect humans.
- Vaccination was ruled out as a possible cause because the vast majority of infected children did not receive a vaccine against Covid-19.
It is an evil that is difficult for scientists to understand. Since spring, children have been suffering from mysterious acute hepatitis, without doctors being able to find out its source. According to the last point public health France Published on June 30, 920 probable cases had been reported by 33 countries as of June 22, including eight in France.
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver: it is manifested by abdominal pain, jaundice, nausea and vomiting, dark urine, pale stools, loss of appetite, fever or fatigue. The disease progresses rapidly in some children and can cause liver failure within a few days. Of the reported cases, approximately 10% had severe lesions requiring liver transplantation. If the symptoms seem obvious and similar to those of other hepatitis, their source is still not understood.
Adenovirus or Covid-19?
“Today, it must be said, no one sees clearly.”As Bruno Lina, a virologist at Hospices Civils de Lyon says, in an interview with The Parisian. The scientists’ first hypothesis was Covid-19: some children with hepatitis contracted the virus. But the relationship between the two diseases was not clear. For the virologistSARS-CoV-2 virus alone is not responsible.”.
The second pathway was adenovirus: DNA viruses without an envelope. “Adenovirus 41, which has been identified in several cases of hepatitis in recent weeks, is already known as a cause of gastroenteritis in children.explain Inserm. In general, the target cells of adenoviruses are mainly found in the conjunctiva, gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract, and urinary tract. Adenovirus 40 has also been identified in some children. According to Bruno Lina, 52.4% of children with hepatitis have traces of one or more of these adenoviruses in their stool. But for him, it is difficult to consider them as a reason. First, these viruses are often responsible for angina and gastroenteritis, but screening is not systematic in people with symptoms. “It is not known what the level of silent circulation of these viruses is in young people“, this specialist concludes. The percentage could be higher than 52.4%, especially since traces of the virus can remain in the stool for a very long time. Finally, the researcher determined that”Adenovirus-associated hepatitis types 40 and 41 are exceptional, with the exception of very severe cases immunocompromised.”
The reasons may remain unknown
Pour Bruno Linamaybe “Many toxic, environmental, and infectious agents are associated with it.” It is responsible for hepatitis. “It could be a water or food problem.”, he adds. In fact, it is believed that the cause of the disease may never be found. “This signal is disappearing and cases are decreasing.”The scientist notes and with them the chances of understanding their origin. “It is not yet clear whether there is actually an increase in cases of hepatitis in children or an increase in awareness of previously undetected or poorly detected cases that are now better identified thanks to enhanced surveillance.”shown Inserm May start. After two months, scientists have not progressed further.