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Pediatrics and Neonatology

Severe Acute Hepatitis in Children

What is Severe Acute Hepatitis in Children? Will it be related to COVID-19?

Severe Acute Hepatitis in Children

This article provides official information from PAHO (Pan American Health Organization) on Severe Acute Hepatitis in Children.


The World Health Organization issued a global warning, a few weeks ago, due to the increase in cases of Sever Acute Hepatitis in Children of unknown origin.


Now, more than 300 cases have been reported worldwide in children, from eleven months old to 16 years old.


But let's start from, what is Severe Acute Hepatitis in Children?

Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver and its tissues as a result of infection with the Hepatitis virus. There are several viruses that are identified by letters, with A (HAV) being the most common type of hepatitis in children.



Types of Hepatitis

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the various types of Hepatitis are divided, spread and have their possible treatment.



Hepatitis type

Infection

How is it spread?

Treatment

Hepatitis A

Acute

It is spread through contact with the feces of an already infected person or by ingesting contaminated water.

It usually gets better after a few weeks.

Protection: Hepatitis A Vaccine

Hepatitis B

Acute or Chronic

It is spread through contact with the blood or body fluids of an already infected person.

The treatment is determined according to the patient.

Protection: Hepatitis B Vaccine

Hepatitis C

Acute or Chronic

It is spread through contact with the blood of an already infected person.

Early diagnosis and treatment prevent liver damage.

Hepatitis D

Massive infection occurs if you have Chronic Hepatitis B and become infected with Hepatitis D

It is spread through contact with the blood or body fluids of an already infected person.

Protection: Hepatitis B vaccine.

Hepatitis E

Acute

It is spread through contact with the feces of an already infected person or by ingesting contaminated water or eating uncooked meat.

It usually gets better after a few weeks.

 

 

Symptoms of Severe Acute Hepatitis in Children

The most common symptoms of Severe Acute Hepatitis in Children are:

  • Diarrhea

  • Vomit

  • Muscle and abdominal pain

  • Fever

  • Jaundice or Icterus (which is yellowing of the skin and sometimes the eyes)



Treatment

Your Pediatrician will make an evaluation and provide treatment depending on the origin and cause of the infection.

Remember that timely treatment is always the best option.

If your Pediatrician determines the risk, a couple of tests will be carried out that can be:

  • Antibody test (proteins that fight infection)

  • Liver Enzyme Test



What is the relationship between Severe Acute Hepatitis in Children and COVID-19?

So far, all are hypotheses, however, it has been observed that the majority of children with this disease were not vaccinated against COVID-19 and had the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. But nothing is confirmed yet.

 

How to prevent Severe Acute Hepatitis in Children?

Vaccinating your children can protect them from possible complications and infections.

Personal and home hygiene are essential. Here are some tips:

  • Wash your hands well and use hand sanitizer

  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing

  • At school or nursery, make sure that hygienic conditions are met

  • Disinfect and clean well the toys that your girl or boy can put in their mouth


In case your daughter or son has been infected, follow the following recommendations to prevent its spread:

  • Wash your hands before and after preparing your food or feeding your daughter or son

  • Wash your hands well if you come into contact with any type of fluid

  • Wash your dishes, clothes and bedding separately

  • Do not share food

  • Be sure that he does not have contact with other people, until your Pediatrician indicates it

  • Avoid eating contaminated food or contaminated water



Make sure you are informed about all the recommendations and measures established by the health authorities.


 

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