On Tuesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued an alert over a significant rise in cases of “severe myocarditis” among newborns and infants between June 2022 and March 2023 in Wales and England.
“On 5 April 2023, the National IHR Focal Point for the United Kingdom informed WHO of an increase in severe myocarditis in neonates associated with enterovirus infection in Wales,” according to the news release.
“Between June 2022 and April 2023, ten hospitalized neonates with a positive enterovirus Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test were found to have myocarditis. Seven of the ten cases had further subtyping, with either coxsackie B3 or coxsackie B4 identified. As of 5 May 2023, one patient was still hospitalized, and one had died.”
A UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) representative confirmed to The Epoch Times that 10 babies have been diagnosed in Wales and five have been diagnosed in England.
The WHO said that “although enterovirus infections are common in neonates and young infants, the reported increase in myocarditis with severe outcomes in neonates and infants associated with enterovirus infection is unusual.”
More from the WHO’s news release:
On 5 April 2023, the National IHR Focal Point for the United Kingdom informed WHO of an increase in severe myocarditis in neonates and infants associated with enterovirus infection in Wales.
Between June 2022 and April 2023, ten neonates, under 28 days of age, presented with a picture consistent with myocarditis and a positive enterovirus PCR. Seven cases were treated in intensive care, and one case died before transfer to tertiary care. Cases presented with features of sepsis, myocarditis, or in cardiorespiratory arrest. The peak incidence of cases was in November 2022, with sporadic cases in other months.
Enterovirus PCR testing of all ten cases (with either blood, throat swab, nose swab, nasopharyngeal aspirate or cerebrospinal fluid samples) confirmed the presence of an enterovirus, subtyping (where available) to either coxsackie B3 or coxsackie B4.
Critical care support including intubation, ventilation and circulatory support was given to the patients who went to intensive care.
As of 5 May 2023, one patient was still hospitalised and one had died.
The reported increase in severe myocarditis in neonates and infants associated with enterovirus infection is unusual. In the tertiary hospital covering the South Wales region, two other similar cases have been identified in the 6 years prior to June 2022.
A further five cases have been identified over the same period in the Southwest of England. No additional information is currently available about these cases. Details of five of the cases from South Wales and three of the additional cases from Southwest England have recently been published (Ng et al., 2023).