Updated May 2 to include illnesses in Minnesota and South Dakota Health officials in five states are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to investigate cases of hepatitis cases among young children who have suffered liver injury, two of whom have required liver transplants.  Health officials suspect Adenovirus may be the cause. Cases have been reported in Alabama, California, Illinois, North Carolina,  and Wisconsin


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Adenoviruses can cause outbreaks, according to the CDC. Though they are generally associated with respiratory illnesses, enteric adenovirus types 40 and 41 cause gastroenteritis, usually in children.

Alabama

Since November 2021, nine cases of liver injury among Alabama children under the age of 10 have been reported throughout the state. None of the children had any underlying health conditions. All of them experienced “gastrointestinal illness and varying degrees of liver injury including liver failure,” according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH). And all of them tested positive for type 41 adenovirus.

California

California health officials are aware of seven cases of severe pediatric hepatitis since October 2021. They are investigating the potential cause.

Illinois

On April 25, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced that it had learned of three suspected cases of severe hepatitis in children under ten that are potentially linked to a strain of adenovirus. One of the children required a liver transplant.

Two of the children are in suburban Chicago and one is in Western Illinois. Illinois health officials are working with healthcare providers to discover other cases.

The CDC has developed a national Health Advisory to discover if other states have similar cases. Dozens of cases have been reported in Europe.

Minnesota

On April 29, Dr. Heli Bhatt, a pediatric gastroenterologist and hepatologist with M Health Fairview Masonic Children’s Hospital, told KARE 11 news that she was aware of two cases of unexplained, severe hepatitis in children treated in Minnesota. One is a four-week-old baby who received a liver transplant six months ago. The other is awaiting a liver transplant. One of the children is from Minnesota, the other is from South Dakota.

North Carolina

On April 21, health officials in North Carolina announced that two school-age children had suffered severe liver inflammation with no known cause. Neither child required a transplant. Both have recovered.

South Dakota

On April 29, Dr. Heli Bhatt, a pediatric gastroenterologist and hepatologist with M Health Fairview Masonic Children’s Hospital, told KARE 11 news that she was aware of two cases of unexplained, severe hepatitis in children treated in Minnesota. One is a four-week-old baby who received a liver transplant six months ago. The other is awaiting a liver transplant. One of the children is from Minnesota, the other is from South Dakota.

Wisconsin

On April 27, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announced that it is investigating four cases of pediatric adenovirus-associated hepatitis. One of the children needed a liver transplant. Another child died.

Cases Reported in the United Kingdom, Spain

In the United Kingdom, 11 cases have been reported, all among children under 10, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Six of these children have required liver transplants. At least 55 cases have been reported from other European countries including Spain where three cases have been reported among children ranging in age from 22 months to 13 years old.

None of the children tested positive for the hepatitis type A, B, C, and E viruses. But some of the children tested positive for coronavirus or adenovirus.

 

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Child hospitalized with liver failure

 

UPDATE: This post was originally posted on April 15, 2022, and updated on April 26, 2022, to include information about the cases in Illinois.

UPDATE: This post was updated on April 27, April 28, and April 29 to include information about cases in California, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.