Acute hepatitis: what is it and how do I know if my child is at risk?

Acute hepatitis: what is it and how do I know if my child is at risk?

In the first months of this year, four children in the Netherlands became so infected with hepatitis that three had to undergo a liver transplant. Professor Dasha Pajkrt, a pediatrician who specializes in viral infectious diseases in children, asked us the question: Is my child also at risk and what should I watch out for?

According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), there are 111 known cases in the UK and around 190 cases of unexplained severe hepatitis in children around the world.

Hepatitis is a Latin word meaning “liver inflammation”. This type of inflammation can have several causes. For example, a common cause is the hepatitis B or C virus, and this has not been found in children.

Pajkrt: “I wouldn’t call it a mysterious liver disease, but it is unexpected and unusual. These children developed acute hepatitis, a rapidly developing liver infection, within days. healthy little children.”

Can my child also get an acute liver infection?

“There are four cases in the Netherlands. This is unusual, but not a number to immediately panic. There are currently 111 known cases in the UK. There seems to be no cohesion in this group: the children are scattered everywhere. All over the country and in good health. The only similarity is that the children are all young – 2 to 5 years old – predominantly white, and that just as many girls get sicker than white boys.

“If your child sees yellow, it is a sign that the liver is not working properly. Abnormal and a reason to see a doctor.

Dasha Pajkrt, doctor

“This inflammation in the liver appears to be caused by an adenovirus, but this has yet to be determined. We are now assuming. These are common viruses that cause diarrhea, colds, vomiting, eye inflammation, or snot-red eyes. The happiness is enormous. It’s great that you and I contracted such a virus. Complaints are usually mild. In some cases, healthy children develop pneumonia.

But now it’s causing liver inflammation, why?

“So we don’t know. There are ideas about it. For example, young children have had little contact with each other in the past two years. They may be more susceptible to this virus. Another hypothesis is that the virus is cooperating. The well-known COVID-19 and this together indicate a more serious course of the disease.

What if you have acute liver inflammation?

“Then the liver becomes inflamed and it cannot do its ‘detox factory’ job properly. You suffer from jaundice, diarrhoea, vomiting and nausea. You will be taken to the hospital and a blood test will be done to see how bad your liver is. The liver has to repair itself, there is no cure for it. If your liver is very damaged it will need to be replaced, so liver transplant.

What should I watch out for if I suspect my child has a liver problem?

“If you are not sure about your child’s illness, you should generally consult a doctor. When you have diarrhea symptoms, there is no need to panic. If your child has jaundice, it is a sign that the liver is not working properly. abnormal and a reason to go to the doctor Diarrhoea, vomiting or inflamed eye are usually not these complaints caused by adenoviruses. Optimistic.

Source: NU