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Home / Science / Health /  Covid-19 may be linked to mysterious hepatitis cases in children: Study
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A chain of events possibly triggered by unrecognized Covid-19 infection could be causing the mysterious cases of severe hepatitis reported in kids around the world, researchers suggest.

Children with COVID-19 are at significantly increased risk for liver dysfunction afterward, according to a report posted on Saturday on medRxiv ahead of peer review.

“We performed a retrospective cohort study on a nation-wide database of patient electronic health records (EHRs) in the US. The study population comprise 796,369 children between the ages of 1-10 years including 245,675 who had contracted COVID-19 during March 11, 2020 - March 11, 2022 and 550,694 who contracted non-COVID other respiratory infection (ORI) during the same timeframe," according to report posted on medRxiv.

Compared to children infected with other respiratory infections, children infected with COVID-19 infection were at significantly increased risk for elevated AST or ALT (hazard ratio or HR: 2.52, 95% confidence interval or CI: 2.03-3.12) and total bilirubin (HR: 3.35, 95% CI: 2.16-5.18). These results suggest acute and long-term hepatic sequelae of COVID-19 in pediatric patients. Further investigation is needed to clarify if post-COVID-19 related hepatic injury described in this study is related to the current increase in pediatric hepatitis cases of unknown origin, the medRxiv report further said.

A separate team of researchers suggest in The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology suggested that it is possible that the affected children, many of whom are too young to be vaccinated, may have had mild or asymptomatic COVID infections that went unnoticed. If that were true, they theorize, then lingering particles of the coronavirus in the gastrointestinal tract in these children could be priming the immune system to over-react to adenovirus-41F with high amounts of inflammatory proteins that ultimately damage the liver.

“SARS-CoV-2 has been identified in 18% of reported cases in the UK and 11 (11%) of 97 cases in England with available data tested SARS-CoV-2 positive on admission; a further three cases had tested positive within the 8 weeks prior to admission.2 Ongoing serological testing is likely to yield greater numbers of children with severe acute hepatitis and previous or current SARS-CoV-2 infection," they said.

 

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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