Experts finally find the cause of rare hepatitis strain infecting children
Researchers finally made a breakthrough.
Experts have found a likely cause behind an unknown strain of hepatitis in children.
UK scientists believe two common viruses returned after the pandemic and triggered serious cases of hepatitis.
Many needed liver transplants, including two children from Ireland.
Researchers in both London and Glasgow believe infants missed out on normal immunity due to the Covid-19 lockdowns.
They later contracted both adenovirus and adeno-associated virus two.
Adenovirus typically causes stomach aches and colds.
Adeno-associated virus two doesn't typically cause a disease, but it can when combined with another virus.
The combination of the two viruses is likely causing liver complications, experts revealed this week.
"Children were not building up immunity to the common infections"
The researchers stressed that there is no connection between Covid vaccines and coronavirus.
Speaking about the results, Professor Judith Breuer, an expert in virology told the BBC:
"Children were not building up immunity to the common infections they would normally encounter."
"When the restrictions were lifted, children began to mix, viruses began to circulate freely.
"They suddenly were exposed with this lack of prior immunity to a whole battery of new infections."
Professor Emma Thompson added, "It may be that a peak of adenovirus infection has coincided with a peak in AAV2 exposure."
This then lead to "an unusual manifestation of hepatitis in susceptible young children."
Earlier this year, a HSE official told HerFamily about the symptoms we should all look out for.
Symptoms can include pale, grey-coloured poo, dark urine, and jaundice.
"If their child has any of these 3 symptoms, they should contact their GP without delay. The GP will assess the child and refer on for further assessment as indicated."
They should also look out for symptoms like muscle and joint pain, a high temperature, feeling and being sick, feeling unusually tired all the time, and tummy pain.
Some patients may also have a general sense of feeling unwell, loss of appetite, and itchy skin.
"If your child is unwell with respiratory or diarrheal or hepatitis symptoms keep your child at home.
"Do not send them to crèche/preschool/school until they are better."
"Good respiratory and hand hygiene, including supervising hand washing in young children, can help to prevent adenovirus and other infections that can cause hepatitis."
Parents should seek immediate medical help if they suspect their child has hepatitis.