COVID-19, one of the most contagious and deadly viruses in history, has killed millions of people and disturbed the social and economic balance of the world.
Since the epidemic, which took effect in December 2019, began to disappear from our lives, the most common question in mind was whether there would be a new epidemic from now on.
The mysterious hepatitis that started in England and spread among children is the same question and whether it is related to coronavirus needs to be answered.
Although studies have not yet yielded results, one of the biggest assumptions is that it is related to the coronavirus epidemic.
More than 450 children have been infected
In May 2022, cases of mysterious hepatitis surpassed 450 worldwide, killing 11 children.
In 25 states in the United States alone, 109 cases have been reported. More than 90 percent of children were hospitalized, 14 percent received liver transplants and 5 died.
Although the exact cause of mysterious hepatitis remains a mystery, more than 50 percent of children tested positive for adenovirus, suspecting that this common viral infection may be linked to the outbreak.
However, experts are also investigating the possibility that the COVID-19 system, which has been in use for more than 2 years, and other possible factors may reduce the natural immunity against common viruses, such as adenoviruses.
Is adenovirus causing a global hepatitis epidemic in children?
Since most cases of early hepatitis have recently occurred in children with respiratory or gastrointestinal illnesses, adenovirus testing was suspected and defined as positive.
Although these results appear to suggest a strong link between adenovirus and hepatitis, in some cases there is no evidence of adenovirus infection in liver biopsy.
Could COVID-19 be behind “mysterious hepatitis”?
Other possible causes are also considered for investigation, as there are no reported adenovirus infections in all reported cases of pediatric hepatitis.
One hypothesis is that COVID-19 can cause liver disease, including adenovirus. In some patients, COVID-19 may increase immunity and increase the risk of viral infections causing harmful inflammation.
Another hypothesis is that COVID-19 is the only reason behind the increase in hepatitis cases.
The chief investigator of the Jackson Laboratory Institute in the United States, Professor. Dr. Deria Forgetz evaluates the relationship between COVID-19 and mysterious hepatitis.
“Adenovirus is not found in all children”
He did not forget that the cause of hepatitis was not clear.
“Hepatitis is a serious inflammation of the liver that occurs in children up to 16 years of age. There are children who have died, and some have needed a liver transplant. We do not fully understand why.
It was initially thought to be caused by a virus we call adenovirus, which does not actually cause any serious illness. Because most of these children had symptoms of the virus. But it was not very satisfying either. Because it is not seen in all babies. At the same time, it has not been identified that the virus is actively multiplying in the liver of children. “
A recent study found that coronavirus poses a higher risk for liver disease in children.
However, only 18 percent of cases of pediatric hepatitis have been found to be infected with the coronavirus.
“It is possible that this is related to COVID-19”
“There are some assumptions that we do not fully understand at the moment. It is possible that this disease is associated with COVID-19. This is probably the most important guess. Because suddenly in the last months it started to get caught.
If it weren’t for the brand new virus, which doesn’t seem to be the case, because if it had been a new virus and epidemic, or even a mutation, it would have spread more quickly, we could have predicted more cases. “
Don’t forget that asymptomatic coronavirus is also found in children with MIS-C syndrome.
“Also, the disease is related to the immune system and can be a condition in children infected with the coronavirus. We see the same thing in the case of a disease called MIS-C.
The disease is an immune syndrome that occurs weeks later in children with Covid-19. These children are also seriously ill. At the time, the virus was not detected, but certain mechanisms, caused by the virus, could be the cause of the syndrome. “
It’s not about social isolation.
Another hypothesis is that precautionary measures such as masks, distances, and curfews have significantly reduced adenovirus infections during COVID-19 epidemics, reduced innate immunity in young children, and increased susceptibility to infection and potentially more serious illness.
According to Forgetmez, this assumption seems unlikely, since the cases are not prevention-related.
“Ultimately, the hepatitis epidemic is not about immunity. In fact, on the contrary, it is a situation that occurs due to excessive immunity. We think this is a situation related to uncontrolled attacks on the liver. At least in this case, I don’t think it’s related to a situation far away from social life due to coronavirus.
But, as I said, it could be related to COVID-19. So it can happen in children who are asymptomatic. It could somehow trigger hepatitis. “
Experts warn parents about the signs and symptoms of hepatitis in young children, such as fever, abdominal pain, and yellowing of the eyes and skin.