The CDC issues health warnings about rare cases of hepatitis in children

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to investigate unexplained positive cases of hepatitis and adenovirus infection in children. The CDC issued a nationwide health warning Thursday, asking parents and providers to keep an eye on symptoms and report potential hepatitis cases for no reason to local and state health departments.

“The CDC is working with state health departments to see if there are additional U.S. cases and what could be the cause of those cases,” the CDC said in the warning. “We continue to recommend children to be up to date with all their vaccinations and that parents and caregivers of young children take the same daily preventive actions that we recommend for everyone, including washing hands frequently, avoiding sick people, covering up coughs and sneeze, and avoid touching the eyes, nose, or mouth. The CDC will share additional information when it becomes available. “

The news comes almost six months ago that the health organization began investigating strange reported cases of hepatitis in children. Since October 21, 2021, the state of Alabama has reported nine cases of hepatitis in children between the ages of 1 and 6 with no known cause. The same kind of cluster infections were also reported by World Health Organization in several countries, including Scotland, the United Kingdom, Spain and Ireland.

In Alabama, the first five sick children were not hospitalized for COVID-19 infection, but presented with significant liver damage and liver failure in some cases. A deeper search found four other children with the same liver disease, who also had an infection with adenovirus 41, which can cause “pediatric acute gastroenteritis,” according to the CDC.

Hepatitis is a general term intended to indicate an inflammation of the liver, according to Johns Hopkins. Symptoms of the infection may include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

The investigation is still ongoing, but researchers have not been able to find a common cause, exposure or epidemiological evidence linking the children in Alabama or the overseas cases. Adenovirus type 41 is “not known to be a cause of hepatitis in otherwise healthy children,” according to the CDC, but investigators believe the virus may be the cause of the cluster outbreaks.

“Investigators are learning more and more – including ruling out other possible causes and identifying other possible contributing factors,” the CDC added Thursday. “The CDC and state public health officials will continue to work closely with clinicians to identify and detect unusual patterns or clusters of disease to prevent further disease.”

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