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Paediatric hepatitis is linked to infection with two viruses, studies find

BMJ 2022; 378 doi: (Published 26 July 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;378:o1876
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. Kent

Coinfection with two viruses—AAV2 and an adenovirus, or less often the herpes virus HHV6—may offer the best explanation for the recent cases of acute hepatitis seen in children, researchers believe.

Two studies, from London and Glasgow, independently found that AAV2 (adeno associated virus 2) was present at high levels in blood samples from patients with unexplained hepatitis. AAV2 is not an adenovirus but is a member of the parvovirus family. It has not previously been associated with disease and needs a “helper” virus for it to replicate.

Both studies, which are published as preprints and not yet peer reviewed, ruled out the likelihood of recent or prior SARS-CoV-2 infection as a direct cause for the acute hepatitis.

The World Health Organization has reported at least 1010 probable cases of acute severe hepatitis of unknown origin in young children in 35 countries. The UK had 263 confirmed cases up to 4 July, including 12 children who needed a liver transplant. Most UK cases have been in children under 5 years old, and nearly 40% of cases have required admission …

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