British Authorities Investigating Mysterious Rise Of Hepatitis In Children

British Authorities Investigating Mysterious Rise Of Hepatitis In Children
The Public Health Agency of Canada is working with provincial and territorial partners across the country to investigate cases of acute severe hepatitis in children not caused by known hepatitis viruses such as A, B, and C. (David Davies/PA)
Owen Evans
4/13/2022
Updated:
4/13/2022

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) recently detected higher than usual rates of liver inflammation (hepatitis) in children.

Public health doctors and scientists at the UK’s public health agencies said they are continuing to investigate 74 cases of hepatitis (liver inflammation) in children since January 2022, where the usual viruses that cause infectious hepatitis (hepatitis A to E) have not been detected. Similar cases are being assessed in Scotland.

But a member of the organisation HART, which was set up to share concerns about policy and guidance recommendations relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, said that the cases could be down to lockdown measures, which have deeply modified the natural course of viral infections.

Of the confirmed cases, 49 are in England, 13 are in Scotland and the remainder are in Wales and Northern Ireland. One of a number of potential causes under investigation is that a group of viruses called adenoviruses may be causing the illnesses.

“However, other possible causes are also being actively investigated, including coronavirus (COVID-19), other infections or environmental causes,” wrote the UKHSA in a statement.

Some have questioned if any of the safety issues associated with COVID 19 vaccines could be a cause. However, the UKHSA said that there is no link, as none of the currently confirmed cases in the UK has been vaccinated.

Diagnostic pathologist Dr. Clare Craig told The Epoch Times that she also does not believe that COVID vaccines are to blame. “Only two-per-cent of under twelves have been vaccinated, and these hepatitis cases were all in 10-year-olds and under,” said Craig.

But initially, she had concerns, something that she says isn’t borne out on closer examination.

“Because we’d seen adverse vaccine reactions including hepatitis before, and if there is something unusual happening when you’ve just given everyone a new drug then you have to question that,” she said.

She added that she understood that some may jump to the conclusion that this may be the case here.

“There has been so little acknowledgment of any harm from the vaccine and that’s the immediate reaction everyone has. When there are harms that we know about and which are never discussed by the media or public health officials then you lose trust.”

She added the unexpected is bound to happen when you mess with complex systems. She noted that gastroenteritis levels are way above baseline levels and that RSV infection in children (a dangerous winter bug that can be deadly) peaked in the summer.

Last year, the government issued an alert over a surge in respiratory virus affecting babies and toddlers. This was due to the resurgence of a respiratory virus which has been suppressed by lockdown and school closures, reported Health Service Journal, a trade publication that covers policy and management in the National Health Service in England.

“The point is what we’ve done with lockdowns is that we’ve massively disrupted the way that we interact with each other and consequently we’ve interrupted microorganisms and the way we spread them to one another,” she added.

Hepatitis is a condition that affects the liver and may occur for a number of reasons, including several viral infections common in children. However, in the cases under investigation, the common viruses that cause hepatitis have not been detected.

“There are a lot of other viruses that could cause hepatitis like EBV, there are lots of potential causes,” said Craig.

UKHSA said it was working swiftly with the NHS and public health colleagues across the UK to investigate the potential cause.

Dr. Meera Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections, said that investigations for a wide range of potential causes are underway, including any possible links to infectious diseases.

“We are working with partners to raise awareness among healthcare professionals so that any further children who may be affected can be identified early and the appropriate tests carried out. This will also help us to build a better picture of what may be causing the cases,” she added.