Experts find link between common virus and mysterious outbreak of hepatitis in children

(ORDO NEWS) — UK experts are finding more links between a common virus, hepatitis in children. Health officials say they have found more cases of the mysterious liver disease.

British experts investigating the cause of the surge in acute hepatitis among children have said there is growing evidence that it is linked to a common virus.

Since January, the UK Health Agency has reported 111 strange cases of hepatitis in children under the age of 10. Ten children needed a liver transplant.

The UN said it has so far received reports of at least 169 cases of “acute hepatitis of unknown origin” and one death has been reported.

Health officials say they have found more cases of the mysterious liver disease in children.

Cases of hepatitis have also been identified in Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands and Spain, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control said in a statement last week.

While it’s not clear what causes the illnesses, the leading suspect is adenovirus, which has been found in 75 per cent of tested confirmed cases, the British agency said in a statement.

Adenovirus (a common group of viruses) is currently circulating in children at above average levels after falling to unusually low levels during the pandemic.

Researchers do not rule out that the outbreak could be linked to a surge in viral infections following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.

Children who have not been exposed to adenovirus in the past two years may now be more affected.

“Information gathered through our research increasingly suggests that this increase in sudden onset of hepatitis in children is associated with adenovirus infection,” said Mira Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at UKHSA. “However, we are carefully investigating other potential causes.”

Earlier this month, U.S. authorities said they were investigating a group of unexplained hepatitis cases diagnosed in nine Alabama children who also tested positive for adenovirus.

UK experts have ruled out any links to COVID-19 vaccines, saying none of the affected children have been vaccinated.

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