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New PAHO guidelines seek to contribute to research into the cause of hepatitis of unknown origin in children

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New PAHO guidelines seek to contribute to research into the cause of hepatitis of unknown origin in children

Washington DC (PAHO), June 21, 2022 (PAHO). The Pan American Health Organization made guidance to help laboratories across the region in their investigations of the causes.

Between October 1 and June 2021, 2022, at most cases of acute liver disease of unknown origin were reported by healthy children aged under 16 in 33 nations. 368, which was found in seven American countries, were the most common. The vast majority of (290) cases in the United States.

” While this is a serious disease that affects children, and it is cause for concern, its occurrence still remains rare,” Ruben Mayorga from PAHO, head of HIV, Tuberculosis and Hepatitis at PAHO. However, he stressed that the importance of “continuing to monitor and investigating possible cases.” “

There are many theories about what caused the disease, such as toxicological/drug reactions, diet, immune, environmental or infectious factors. However, none of these hypotheses have been proved and are currently being investigated. The cause of the illness will help to inform health policy and treatment.

The new PAHO guidelines contain a laboratory algorithm that can rule out viral hepatitis A, B, C and D, as well as other diseases which are endemic in the area and could lead to liver damage such as yellow fever, malaria and leptospirosis.

Human Adenovirus is one of the agents under investigation. It causes mild and self-limiting gastrointestinal infections or respiratory problems in children. The virus is included in the guidelines as an investigation protocol, along with other potential infectious causes.

Once all other options have been exhausted, PAHO guidelines recommends additional testing, such as for respiratory pathogen panels or enterobacteria, and any other lesser-frequent pathogens. Tiered testing ensures that public health laboratories are used in a cost-efficient and rational manner.

” These guidelines aim to gather information that will help determine the likely cause of hepatitis,” stated Jairo Mendez (PAHO regional advisor for viral diseases). It could be multifactorial and may also be triggered by other toxic, infectious or metabolic factors. However, we don’t yet know the cause. Therefore, it is crucial to examine the possible cases and provide some insight into the matter. “

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