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Acute Childhood Hepatitis Arrives to Mexico

By Sofía Garduño | Fri, 05/13/2022 - 12:25

Nuevo Leon’s Ministry of Health announced that Mexico’s first cases of acute severe hepatitis in children have been detected in the state. As of Thursday, four cases have been detected in children under 16 years old. The state’s Ministry of Health asked the population to remain calm.

 

“We are aware of the patients that have been diagnosed with hepatitis in both private and public institutions. They are children from different ages. We are monitoring them to evaluate how they develop and will share with you the complete information,” said Alma Rosa Marroquín Escamilla, Nuevo Leon’s Minister of Health.

 

Last week, Mexican authorities issued an epidemiological warning regarding the alarming number of acute childhood hepatitis cases in at least 20 countries. Since that time, Mexican health institutions are on high alert.

 

The scientific community is working to understand these severe cases as the five known hepatitis viruses have been discarded. Adenovirus is being considered as a possible cause of this new type of hepatitis, with about 30 percent of the cases being linked to this virus, said Nuevo Leon’s Ministry of Health. However, adenovirus had not been previously linked to this type of clinical presentation, according to WHO.

 

“There have been rare cases, however, of severe adenovirus infections that have caused hepatitis in immunocompromised–or transplant patients, for example. However, these children do not match that description–they were previously healthy,” said Leandro Soares, Advisor for Viral Hepatitis Prevention and Control, PAHO.

 

 

The SARS-CoV-2 and other pathogens have also been evaluated as possible culprits. While the COVID-19 vaccine was considered as a potential cause at the beginning of the outbreak, it was rapidly ruled out because not all infected children had received the vaccine. In the UK pet dogs are been studied as potential causes of the hepatitis outbreak, but experts believe that this could be a coincidental cause as there is a high rate of dog ownership in the country. The WHO has invited Member States to report potential cases fitting the description of acute severe hepatitis as they would provide clues to track the source of illness.

 

Children affected with this type of hepatitis have required hospitalization and treatment. A small percentage has needed liver transplants. Unfortunately, child deaths linked to this disease have been reported across the world. As of May 6, 2022, the CDC was investigating five deaths in the US. Indonesia has reported a total of seven deaths and Ireland reported one.

 

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
FT, MBN, TecReview, Bloomeberg, NYTimes, Dailymail, McGill University, PAHO, Ministry of Health
Photo by:   Pixabay, hulkiokantabak
Sofía Garduño Sofía Garduño Journalist & Industry Analyst