BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) – News 4 heard from Oishei Children’s Hospital about how doctors treated an infant with a mysterious case of hepatitis, the first suspected case reported in the area.
The CDC is investigating 109 cases of hepatitis in children, including five deaths, in 25 states and territories, but experts aren’t sure why children get sick.
Dr. Osama Almadhoun, chief of the division of gastroenterology and nutrition at Oishei Children’s, who treated the boy, said the baby is in good health. After three days of treatment last month, the baby’s family was able to take him home.
The baby initially had symptoms that no parent wants to see: fever, vomiting and diarrhea.
The baby was found to have hepatitis, which is an inflammation of the liver.
“The reason for admission was acute viral gastroenteritis or a stomach bug and concerns about dehydration,” Almadhoun said. “It was only by doing blood tests that we realized the baby’s liver enzymes were significantly elevated.”
Doctors connected the baby to an IV.
“There is no specific treatment for this type of hepatitis, other than supportive treatment, such as giving fluids for dehydration and monitoring and making sure the child’s nutritional status is good,” Almadhoun said.
Many things can cause hepatitis, including excessive alcohol use, certain medications, and infections, but the recently seen cases of hepatitis in children across the country have no known cause.
“It’s definitely challenging and worrying, the only good news is that these cases are very rare,” Almadhoun said.
As for what parents can do, doctors say they should watch for symptoms like fever, fatigue and loss of appetite, and stay up to date on their child’s hygiene and immunizations.
“You just need to keep monitoring your child’s health, and if they’re sick, it’s best to contact your health care provider,” said Dr. Thomas Russo of UB’s Jacobs School of Medicine.
Oishei Children’s Hospital said the baby’s family responded quickly to the symptoms.
Something that doctors have been able to rule out is that these cases of hepatitis have not been related to COVID-19. So far, state health officials have not said how many cases they are investigating in the state.
The state health department would only issue this statement:
The New York State Department of Health, in collaboration with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the CDC, has been investigating cases of pediatric hepatitis to determine if any may be related to the disease that has been reported. reported in Europe and the United States.
New York State Department of Health
Of the children who have become ill, the CDC says more than half of the patients have tested positive for adenoviruses, with more than 90% hospitalized and 14% having had liver transplants.
So far, we have heard from several local county health departments who say no suspected cases have been reported to them. Those counties are Niagara, Chautauqua, Orleans, and Genesee counties.
The CDC will further discuss its investigation next week in a Zoom call.
Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.