“Hepatitis is common, but some children have developed a severe form,” says expert

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Severe hepatitis, also called mysterious, worries the WHO (World Health Organization), which investigates suspected cases in at least 20 countries. In an interview with CNN the infectious disease specialist and outpatient coordinator of Infectious and Parasitic Diseases at the Hospital das Clínicas da USP (University of São Paulo), doctor Max Igor Banks, explained why the disease raised an alert among health authorities, including Brazil.

“Hepatitis is a common disease in several countries, what happened is that some children evolved in a more serious way, and this generated an alert in the countries, which are investigating the possible cause. When you research a picture of hepatitis, the first diseases that you think of are the so-called hepatitis, A, B, C, D. All were discarded, and this drew more attention”, said the specialist in diseases of the type.

Until Saturday (21), Brazil had 70 suspected cases of mysterious hepatitis notified throughout the country by the Ministry of Health, with 12 cases already discarded and 58 are still under investigation. No case has been officially confirmed by the federal agency.

As of the 15th of this month, the WHO was investigating 348 probable cases of acute childhood hepatitis in more than 20 countries.

“This type of situation is common in the world and in a disease surveillance process when talking about infectious diseases, sometimes there can be some signs, it can be more serious or not. It is not an imminence of a mysterious hepatitis affecting the entire population. We’ve seen an increase in the number of cases, they’re researching the cause,” explained Banks, who also pointed to a possible cause for the mysterious disease.

“One possible is infection with a virus, adenovirus, which normally does not cause as much liver inflation as seen in these children. It’s trying to better understand what’s going on,” she said.

Adenovirus is a virus transmitted by breath and fecal-orally. “We’ve all had adenovirus infections. There are some types that cause infections in humans, so far, it’s normal. [Quando ocorre] some elevation of liver enzymes, the doctor calls it hepatitis, and it can occur in adenovirus infection”, explained the doctor.

However, Banks said, what doctors are seeing in infected children is different from the normal contamination from an adenovirus.

“What you’re seeing is a different situation, higher inflation of liver enzymes, which we don’t often see in common cold infections in children,” said the specialist.

Source: CNN Brasil

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