Myocarditis Claims Innocent Baby’s Life and Leaves Eight on the Brink of Death in Wave of Infection

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  • 5 UK newborns diagnosed with myocarditis from June 2022 to March 2023
  • Further testing of nine of the cases confirmed they had common infection  

A cluster of infections caused by a typically harmless virus has resulted in the death of one baby and the admission of eight others to intensive care. Severe Myocarditis, which is inflammation of the heart, has affected a total of 15 newborns in Wales and south-west England since June 2022.

The World Health Organization issued an alert in May stating that one of the infants is still hospitalized.

A sudden increase in cases has alarmed health officials, who are conducting a thorough investigation. Out of the cases, nine have tested positive for an enterovirus that typically results in no symptoms or flu-like indications. Health experts are puzzled by the cause of the sudden rise and are examining the situation in Wales.

Any additional cases that arise in the upcoming weeks will also be examined.

Although enteroviruses typically result in mild sickness, they have a greater impact on infants and young children compared to older children. These viruses can induce symptoms such as fever, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, muscle pain, and rashes.

Enteroviruses Symptoms
Enteroviruses usually cause only mild illness but tend to affect newborns and young children more severely than older children.

A cluster of more than a dozen young children in the UK have developed myocarditis, which is inflammation of the heart, alongside an enterovirus infection. The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued an alert and labeled the cluster as “unusual.”

The affected babies have been hospitalized, with eight of them requiring intensive care, and one child has died. Health officials are investigating the reasons for the cluster of cases and to spot any others that may be reported in the coming weeks.

The UKHSA is investigating the situation in England, and officials are looking at potential driving factors behind the increase. Enteroviruses usually cause only mild illness but tend to affect newborns and young children more severely.

The WHO said the risk to public health is ‘low’.

But it noted that enterovirus infection is not among the diseases WHO members have to flag — so a similar pattern may have gone undiagnosed or unreported elsewhere.

It may be recommended to close childcare facilities and schools ‘in certain situations’ to reduce transmission, it said.

But travel restrictions to the UK are not recommended, it added.

One mother said her child died after he was infected with enterovirus and developed sepsis and heart problems. However, the case hasn’t been included in the official tally from Public Health Wales, which was shared with the WHO.

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