Researchers suggest link between Omicron and outbreak of acute hepatitis

The Omicron variant of the coronavirus may have some influence on the current outbreak of acute hepatitis in children. That’s what a group of Japanese researchers suggest.

Kyoto University professor Hiroshi Nishiura told the Ministry of Health’s coronavirus advisory committee that countries with high numbers of Omicron infections, such as the UK and US, were found to report a relatively high number of hepatitis cases. childish.

Credit: NIAIDJapanese researchers suggest link between Omicron and acute hepatitis in children

According to the professor, a history of infection with the Ômicron strain in the past may have an effect on the outbreak of acute hepatitis.

This theory linking SARS-COV-2 with the hepatitis outbreak has already been raised by other health bodies and is being investigated.

However, the strongest hypothesis to date is that the disease is being caused by an adenovirus, as it has been detected in at least 74 cases.

What scientists are trying to understand now is whether there were mutations in adenovirus 41 that might explain why a virus that was not known to cause hepatitis in healthy children might now be causing it.


Credit: Wildpixel/istockAdenovirus is being studied as the possible cause of hepatitis outbreak in children

Yet another theory under consideration is that exposure to some drug, toxin or something in the environment may have predisposed children to have an abnormal reaction to infection with adenovirus or another virus.

In a statement released on April 23, the WHO said there was no link between the disease and the vaccines used against Covid-19, as the vast majority of affected children did not receive the coronavirus vaccination.

See here for more details on these and other theories that are being analyzed.

Acute hepatitis outbreak

Acute hepatitis is characterized by sudden inflammation of the liver, with markedly elevated liver enzymes.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of suspected cases under investigation as of May 10 was 348 in 20 countries.

The United Kingdom is the country with the most cases, with 163 confirmed as of the 3rd, according to local health authorities.

blood test

Credit: Gilaxia/Istock UK was the first country to report mysterious hepatitis and the one with the most cases

In the United States, the disease was reported in 109 children by day 6. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 90% were hospitalized, 14% received liver transplants, and 5 died.

In Brazil, the Ministry of Health reported this Thursday, 12, that it is investigating 28 suspected cases of acute childhood hepatitis of unknown origin.

The records are from São Paulo (8), Rio de Janeiro (7), Minas Gerais (4), Paraná (3), Espírito Santo (2), Pernambuco (2) and Santa Catarina (2). The cases are not yet conclusive and are awaiting further tests to confirm the disease.


Most children with the disease are under the age of five. Early symptoms usually include diarrhea followed by jaundice.

hepatitis jaundice

Credit: Stefan Tomic/istockYellowing skin is one of the signs of hepatitis

Another important symptom of acute hepatitis is severe pain when the abdomen is touched. This tenderness is felt in the upper right, which is where the liver is located.

According to the UK Health Safety Agency (UKHSA), the most common liver inflammation symptoms seen in children so far have been:

Jaundice (71%)
Vomiting (63%)
Pale stools (50%)
Diarrhea (45%)
Nausea (31%)
Abdominal pain (42%)
Lethargy (tiredness) (50%)
Fever (31%)
Respiratory symptoms (19%)