As we know, as of April, the World Health Organization published the information that an acute liver disease of unknown origin was spreading in children in some European countries and the United States; by April 21, 2022, 169 cases were estimated, the first death of a patient and the need for liver transplantation in approximately 10% of the affected population.
Given this, the WHO issued an epidemiological surveillance alert for the member states of the organization, which were asked to do everything possible to identify, investigate and notify any possible case whose characteristics coincide with those detected for severe acute childhood hepatitis. unknown origin. This is due to the probability that the spread will continue and reach other countries, as well as in the hope of gathering as much information as possible that would allow them to determine the cause.
Currently the disease has spread, although with significantly low figures, in Mexico, for example, the first four cases have already been reported and, as for the origin, lately it has circulated through different media that dogs may be the cause of this condition , but why has this arisen?
Well, to begin with, the “mystery” of this disease lies precisely in the fact that its origin is unknown. Liver pathologies in children are normally caused by viruses, in most cases, by hepatitis A, B, C, D and E viruses, however, when carrying out the relevant evaluations in the patients, it was determined that none showed evidence of this type of infection or a persistent feature that could explain the causes.
The only thing that was found was that adenovirus type 41 was detected in a population of affected children, however, it was not a consistent finding in all sick individuals, furthermore, it is recognized that this type of virus presents a clinical picture that is limited to infections in the respiratory and digestive tract without any evolution to severe acute hepatitis, therefore, the information is not conclusive.
In addition, the WHO specified that “Hypotheses related to side effects of COVID-19 vaccines are currently not supported, as the vast majority of affected children did not receive the COVID-19 vaccine.”
Under this scenario, the health authorities have proposed to make evaluations of the different variables that could coincide in all patients and that could potentially explain the enigma of the origin of this disease with which control and prevention actions could be planned. Thus, the United Kingdom Health Security Agency recently issued an informative document, which you can consult below: Research on acute hepatitis of unknown etiology in children in England.
In it they indicated that exposure to dogs in children could be a possible factor of importance to take into account, describing that “a relatively high number of dog-owning families or other exposures to dogs have been found in the cases”, estimating that, 70% of patients comply with this fact. “The significance of this finding is being explored,” they stated.
In this way, it is highly relevant to clarify that such exposure is simply one of the many variables that are currently being studied, any possible association is of importance to researchers, yes, however, this does not imply or affirm any fact; doing so requires careful evaluation and, in fact, may not pose any risk.
For now, the origin of the disease remains to be found, the cases have been expanding on a low scale, and surveillance and epidemiological investigation are maintained.
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