HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed 109 cases of hepatitis have been identified in children under the age of ten across the United States. 15 days ago, the CDC issued a nationwide health alert about an investigation underway in Alabama involving nine children with hepatitis diagnosed between October 2021 and February 2022.
Doctors could not find a common source for the cases.
“All of these patients were previously healthy, came from different parts of the state, and were hospitalized with significant liver injury without a known cause, including some with acute liver failure,” said CDC Deputy Director for Infectious Diseases Jay Butler.
All of the patients tested positive for adenovirus, a common virus that presents itself with respiratory or gastrointestinal symptoms. Since the CDC issued the alert, reports of cases have poured in from all over the country. More than half of the reported cases have tested positive for adenovirus 41, which usually occurs in immunocompromised patients.
“We also don’t know yet what other factors may play, such as environmental exposures, medications, or other infections the children might have,” Butler said.
The symptoms of hepatitis include vomiting, dark urine, light stool, and yellowing of the skin.
“It’s important to remember that severe hepatitis in children is rare even with the potential increase in cases that we’re reporting today,” Butler said.
Butler said the precautions to take with your children are similar to those of many diseases, including washing your hands, avoiding people who are sick and covering coughs and sneezes.
The CDC is currently investigating 109 cases of hepatitis of unknown cause in 109 children in 25 states and territories occurring over the past seven months. More than 90% of the patients were hospitalized, 14% required liver transplants, and 5 have died.
More than 200 cases have been reported outside of the U.S.