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Health authorities ready for child hepatitis cases

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Health professionals are ready to deal with cases of acute hepatitis on the island among children, Head of Cyprus Paediatric Society Dr Michalis Anastasiades told the Cyprus News Agency.

An increased number of acute hepatitis cases of an unknown aetiology have appeared in infants and toddlers, mostly in the UK.

Dr Anastasiades said that no such incident was detected or reported in Cyprus, adding that most of these cases will develop mildly.

He reassured the public, saying that these incidents do not cause any serious, permanent damage to the liver.

It is most likely that the conditions of the COVID pandemic fostered the outbreak of viral infections.

He explained that because of the pandemic and the restrictions in place, many of these infections did not appear, and now, due to the lifting of restrictions, they have returned in an endemic form.

There is no sign that such cases are likely to be diagnosed in Cyprus, but uncertainty remains.

Anastasiades does not think there will be an epidemic outbreak similar to Covid.

“Last summer and beginning of Autumn, we were faced with infections that mostly appear during winter. The same will probably happen with viruses such as adenovirus, which has high transmissibility.

Symptoms include gastroenteritis and respiratory problems.

He said that 169 cases had been detected worldwide so far, 112 of which in the UK.

Authorities globally are studying whether there is a certain mutation of a particular strain.

WHO

The situation is under assessment by World Health Organization and the EU, but there is no correlation with COVID-19 vaccinations.

The number of known cases of sudden onset hepatitis among children under 10 has risen to 111, and those who have needed a liver transplant has increased to 10, the UK Health Security Agency has reported.

It said there had been no deaths in the UK.

The WHO reported one death of a child with hepatitis but did not say where it had occurred.

Most of the cases of liver inflammation were in children under five, though a small number of cases in children over 11 are also being examined.

The cases are predominantly in children under five who showed initial symptoms of diarrhoea and nausea followed by jaundice.

Health agencies are urgently investigating the cases and say they do not know what is driving this surge.

Officials said the cases had not been caused by the usual viruses that cause hepatitis A – E. Data gathered has suggested that the rise in severe cases of hepatitis may be linked to a group of viruses called adenoviruses.

Of 53 cases tested, 40 (75%) showed that adenovirus was the most common pathogen detected.

But these adenoviruses usually cause mild flu-like symptoms and not acute liver failure.