Cases of Childhood Hepatitis of Unknown Origin Reported in Multiple States

Cases of childhood hepatitis of unknown origin have been reported in Minnesota and Wisconsin following a cluster of nine cases in Alabama in recent months.

On Wednesday, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced in a news release that it was investigating four such cases among children in the Badger state.

“This includes two children who had serious outcomes, a liver transplant, and one death,” the state health department said.

“A possible association between pediatric hepatitis and adenovirus infection in children who have tested negative for hepatitis A, B, C, D and E viruses is currently being investigated worldwide,” the statement added.

On Friday, Minnesota Department of Health spokesman Dough Schultz said hospitals in the state have also reported childhood cases of the virus with an unexplained origin, the Duluth News Tribune reported.

Pediatric gastroenterologist Dr. Heli Bhatt of M Health Fairview in Minnesota noted that a baby recently had a liver transplant, WCCO reported. “At the time, doctors didn’t know how to test for hepatitis and adenovirus cases appearing across the country, but looking back, the baby’s case meets the criteria,” the outlet added.

Between October 2021 and February, health officials identified nine Albama children, ages one to six, who contracted hepatitis of unknown origin accompanied by adenovirus infection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced. in your report.

“All nine children were patients at Children’s of Alabama,” the CDC said. “These patients were from geographically different parts of the state; no epidemiological links were identified between the patients.”

The CDC added:

All patients had negative test results for hepatitis A, B, and C viruses, and several other causes of pediatric hepatitis and infections were ruled out, including autoimmune hepatitis, Wilson’s disease, bacteremia, respiratory tract infections urinary and SARS-CoV-2 infection. None of the children had a documented history of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Seven of the patients were girls and no patients were immunocompromised, the CDC said.

The CDC noted:

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that can be caused by viral infections, alcohol use, toxins, medications, and other medical conditions. In the United States, the most common causes of viral hepatitis are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C viruses. [2]. Signs and symptoms of hepatitis include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, light-colored stools, joint pain, and jaundice. [2]. Treatment of hepatitis depends on the underlying etiology.

In all, more than two dozen cases have been reported across the country, according to WCCO. There have been 100 confirmed cases worldwide, says KMSP.

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