The liver is the largest solid organ in the body, it belongs to the digestive system and constitutes the main energy reserve for fasting periods and among its most outstanding functions is the detoxification of the body, mainly from alcohol, to name a few. In the pediatric age it is common for a type of hepatitis to occur, but will it be the next epidemic?
In 1946 Lucke and Mallory noted the fulminant evolution of some acute hepatitis, 24 years later the first definition and classification attempt was made by Trey and Davidson; in 1986 Berneau proposed the term liver failure.
In 1999, the nomenclature for children from 0 to 18 years of age was standardized by the Pediatric Acute Liver Failure Study Group and the diagnostic criteria were established. The causes are related to the age of the patient, the geographical region of origin and the economic development of each country.
The manifestation of this disease in the pediatric age has been the object of research, especially in developed countries of Europe, the United States and Canada, with limitations given by the application of the diagnostic criteria in children.
Recently the World Health Organization has been notified of at least 228 cases of acute childhood hepatitis of unknown origin, and there are already twenty affected countries, almost double the number reported 10 days ago, said a spokesman for the organization. The spokesman indicated that another 50 suspected cases are under investigation, noting that at least four regions are affected (most of the cases were reported in Europe but there have also been notifications in the Americas, Asia Pacific and South Asia).
The first ten cases of this acute hepatitis were reported by the United Kingdom to the WHO on April 5, in children under ten years of age with no previous history of infection or of relevance, and since then they have also been detected in countries such as Spain, Israel , Denmark, Italy, the United States, Indonesia, Belgium, and recently in the United States. The age of those affected ranges from one month to 16 years, in most cases they do not present fever, and in none of them have the viruses usually associated with this pathology been detected (those of hepatitis A, B, C, D and E), according to the health organization.
At least four of these cases have been fatal (three in Indonesia), and the WHO indicated in its April 23 report that a tenth of the children affected until then had required a liver transplant after contracting this new disease, which usually lead to abdominal pain, diarrhea or vomiting.
The World Health Organization has assured that the increase in cases of acute childhood hepatitis of unknown origin is a very urgent issue to which they are giving absolute priority. The main theory that specialists have to explain acute childhood hepatitis, of which some 200 cases have been detected in the world, is that an “adenovirus” linked to “a collateral effect of Covid”, which has caused There are immunosuppressed children due to the isolation they have maintained for almost two years that has limited their defenses, making them more exposed to this pathogen.
The first suspicions pointed to the fact that the cause could be a sequel to Covid, the coronavirus was identified in several of those affected and also the adenovirus. A toxic origin or that it was an unknown virus was not ruled out either. No child had been vaccinated against the coronavirus, so this possibility was ruled out from the outset. Far from being a rarity, adenoviruses, normally banal, cause respiratory problems, conjunctivitis or digestive problems. They are more frequent in winter and are easily transmitted in day care centers and schools. Most humans become infected before the age of five.