Simple Is Not Satisfying: Hepatitis Mystery Deepens
No Explanation Proposed Is Sufficient
As I wrote the other day, one of the foundational principles of logical analysis is simplicity. Known as “Occam's Razor”, or the Law of Parsimony, the principle holds that the simplest explanation of something is most likely the correct one.
The simplest explanation is not necessarily a satisfying one, or even a sufficient one, as the recent global (and growing?) outbreak of hepatitis among pediatric patients demonstrates.
Among the 169 reported cases, at least one child has died from this inflammation of the liver and 17 children needed liver transplants, the WHO said Saturday in a statement.
"It is not yet clear if there has been an increase in hepatitis cases, or an increase in awareness of hepatitis cases that occur at the expected rate but go undetected," the WHO said. "While adenovirus is a possible hypothesis, investigations are ongoing for the causative agent."
The symptoms "among identified cases is acute hepatitis with markedly elevated liver enzymes," the statement added.
The case count reported to the WHO was only 74 in the UK, plus an additional 5 unconfirmed cases in Ireland as well as 3 confirmed cases in Spain as of their previous Disease Outbreak News release on April 15. This is in addition to the 9 cases in Alabama reported to the CDC. Thus, the outbreak now encompasses more than twice as many countries and includes more than twice as many cases as was initially reported just over a week ago.
It should be noted that the number of hepatitis cases represents cases going back to last fall, and the doubling of reported cases is more the result of prior hepatitis cases being determined to fit the case definition and not new cases of hepatitis. At the present time, the case count does not indicate explosive or exponential growth in pediatric cases of hepatitis.
The WHO has refined the case definition somewhat, expanding the age range of potential patients.
WHO working case definition:
Confirmed: N/A at present
Probable: A person presenting with an acute hepatitis (non hepA-E*) with serum transaminase >500 IU/L (AST or ALT), who is 16 years and younger, since 1 October 2021
Epi-linked: A person presenting with an acute hepatitis (non hepA-E*) of any age who is a close contact of a probable case, since 1 October 2021.
*If hepatitis A-E serology results are awaited, but other criteria met, these can be reported and will be classified as “pending classification”. Cases with other explanations for their clinical presentation are discarded.
The basic facts of the outbreak are largely unchanged from the initial reporting, beyond the expanded case definition and increased geographic distribution of cases.
Causative Agent Unclear
While the initial clinical evaluations of the cases favored adenovirus type 41, as the case count has grown, the incidence of adenovirus has not kept pace.
Hepatitis is typically caused by a virus. Adenoviruses are common, can spread between people and can cause people to be mildly or severely ill. Among these recent infections, adenoviruses have been detected in at least 74 cases, but they typically don’t cause severe hepatitis in healthy people. The common viruses that cause acute viral hepatitis, including hepatitis viruses A, B, C, D and E, have not been detected in any of these cases, according to the WHO.
Adenovirus has been found in 75% of the UK cases, and in the Alabama cases, but it is far from a clear common factor, appearing thus far in roughly one half of the reported cases.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus has also been detected, sometimes in conjunction with adenovirus, yet this, too, is not a clear characteristic of the outbreak.
The WHO also said adenoviruses had been detected in 74 cases, of which 20 were infected with COVID-19 and 19 both coronavirus and adenoviruses.
Moreover, while adenovirus type 41 can cause gastrointestinal symptoms, it is not clinically associated with hepatitis.
Adenoviruses make up a large family of viruses that can spread from person to person, causing a range of illnesses including colds, pinkeye and gastroenteritis. They are only rarely reported as a cause of severe hepatitis in healthy people.
However, adenovirus infection has been on the rise, and thus may be at least a contributing factor.
But these hepatitis cases come as the spread of adenovirus has escalated in recent months, along with other common viruses that have surged with the end of Covid-19 prevention measures and behaviors that kept most germs at bay.
Thus far, the most prevalent characteristic of the outbreak has been that most patients have not received a COVID-19 mRNA inoculation, leading researchers to rule the inoculations out.
As the vast majority of the patients had not been vaccinated against COVID-19, it is now considered that their hepatitis is not a side effect of COVID-19 vaccination.
Yet even with the inoculations, the situation is not universal; some of the affected children were of age to receive the inoculations and had in fact been inoculated.
Thus no single causative agent or pathogen can be identified (or excluded) across all cases. Most but not all UK cases tested positive for adenovirus. Some but not all cases tested positive for coronavirus. A few but not all cases were inoculated.
Thus, while the adenovirus hypothesis remains favored among researchers, nothing is readily ruled out at this time.
While it isn’t clear what’s causing the illnesses, a leading suspect is adenovirus, which was detected in 75% of the confirmed cases tested, the U.K. agency said in statement Monday.
About Those mRNA Inoculations
Of particular frustration is the lack of a clear correlation between the hepatitis outbreak and the one known new cause of hepatitis: the mRNA COVID-19 inoculations.
As Steve Kirsch has documented in his excellent Substack, there is a clear correlation between the mRNA shots and cases of hepatitis broadly speaking, based just on the VAERS data alone.
Yet as Steve concedes, the shots are difficult to tie to this outbreak of hepatitis since so few patients had been inoculated.
Still, the widespread use of the inoculations precludes us from dismissing them out of hand. In that same Substack article, Steve calls attention to a seminal study describing how the mRNA shots can cause Autoimmune Hepatitis (AIH).
Nor is the claim of Auto Immune Hepatitis an isolated one. There are multiple case studies which serve to document the capacity of the inoculations to trigger AIH:
The links between the mRNA inoculations and hepatitis are impossible to ignore. Without a clear and consistent relationship between the hepatitis outbreak and any alternative agent or pathogen, the possibility the hepatitis cases where the patient had been inoculated are attributable to the mRNA inoculations is impossible to dismiss. But for the single fact that most of the 169 cases of hepatitis among children contained within this outbreak involve non-inoculated patients, the mRNA inoculations would be the prime suspect.
Is There Even An Outbreak?
Intriguingly, even as the case counts expand, it is not entirely certain there is an actual outbreak of hepatitis among children. The possibility remains that these cases represent routine levels of hepatitis among children, but that doctors are hypersensitive to new syndromes and disease outbreaks as a consequence of the Pandemic Panic.
It is not yet clear if there has been an increase in hepatitis cases, or an increase in awareness of hepatitis cases that occur at the expected rate but go undetected. While adenovirus is a possible hypothesis, investigations are ongoing for the causative agent.
While juvenile cases of hepatitis are never “nothing”, if in fact the seeming rise in cases is the result of increased vigilance, the rise itself would be substantially much ado about nothing—as the cases might not be an actual deviation from the norm, there might not even be a novel pathogen at issue.
That being said, 17 liver transplants among children year to date sounds mighty concerning. Even if these cases are part of the “normal” incidence of hepatitis, the unknown etiology is still an healthcare problem. “Something” is causing hepatitis among young people.
No Clear Cause
While Occam's Razor tells us to keep things simple, we must remember that this is not the same as saying that things are simple. A certain frustration arises in situations such as this, because the data serves more to exclude seemingly obvious explanations than to confirm them.
The mRNA inoculations are a plausible explanation, but only for those cases where the patient was inoculated.
Adenovirus type 41 is a plausible explanation, but only where it is present, which for now is slightly less than half reported cases.
Broad-spectrum weakening of young children's immune systems from excessive lockdown and isolation is a plausible explanation for the cases in very young children. That explanation becomes less fitting the older the patient, and some patients are as old as 16—nearly adult.
If we are forced to consider multiple novel pathogens or causative agents we have to address the improbability of multiple concurrent outbreaks with virtually identical symptoms.
We are left with no clear cause and no simple explanation.
As Simple As Possible But No Simpler
This is the practical reminder to take from these hepatitis cases: things are not always simple and straightforward. Sometimes there are complications, and always there are unanswered questions.
Einstein's dictum is “make everything as simple as possible but no simpler.” If complexity is necessary, accept it.
A subtle but overlooked flaw both of the Pandemic Panic Narrative and the countervailing response to it is the rush to oversimplify things.
The purported virtues of the mRNA inoculations pushed aside the well established and arguably more important benefits of good nutrition in combating disease, in particular the significance of Vitamin D and zinc. Yet good nutritional habits do not preclude the use of inoculations, or vice-versa.
The toxicities of the mRNA inoculations often overshadow the toxic aspects of lockdowns, universal masking, and the rest of the Faucist pseudoscience that has taken hold over the public health. Yet all of Faucism is toxic, and it all must be condemned.
The problem with the inoculations was never that they are intrinsically bad, but that they do not work. They have not stopped the spread of COVID-19, but have caused innumerable other health issues, and even killed people. Had they been effective and even just less toxic the world would justifiably sung their praises.
The problem with the lockdowns is they impose significant economic pain with no practical healthcare benefit. Had they been effective as a mitigation against COVID-19 the debate over whether they are worth the economic consequences becomes more problematic and uncertain. Had there been no economic consequences resistance to the lockdowns might never have crystallized.
The problem with universal masking is it does not prevent infectious respiratory disease but does impose significant psychological stress on people. If masking worked the controversies around masking become more muted. If masking worked the psychological stresses might even be somewhat ameliorated.
The problem with both the adenovirus and mRNA inoculation hypotheses regarding these cases of pediatric hepatitis is that neither adenovirus nor the inoculations are proven in the majority of cases, based on data at hand. If either one was proven in 90% or more of the cases the search for the causative agent would be done. Instead, the search continues, and more data must be gathered before the causative agent is fully understood.
Sometimes the answers are not simple and straightforward. Sometimes they are not readily apparent at first glance. Yet simple or complex, apparent or subtle, the answers will always be found in the data.
To find the answers, one must focus on following the data and resist the urge to rush to oversimplify just to fit a narrative.