Nine young Alabama children affected by a mysterious hepatitis (inflammation of the liver) have tested positive for a common pathogen called adenovirus 41, a US health agency study said on Friday.
The children, whose ages ranged from one to six years old and who were previously healthy, are among around 170 cases in 11 countries in recent weeks, according to the World Health Organization. Another state, Wisconsin, is investigating a death.
The new article from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deals specifically with the group in Alabama, even as investigations continue across the country.
“At this time, we believe that adenovirus may be the cause of these reported cases, but other possible environmental and situational factors are still being investigated,” the CDC said in a statement that accompanied the study.
Adenovirus 41 is known to cause gastroenteritis in children, but is “not generally known to cause hepatitis in otherwise healthy children,” the agency said.
However, an investigation ruled out other common exposures, including COVID; hepatitis A, B, and C viruses (the most common causes of hepatitis in the US); Autoimmune hepatitis and Wilson’s disease.
The nine Alabama cases occurred between October 2021 and February 2022. Three experienced acute liver failure, two of which required liver transplants.
“All patients have recovered or are recovering, including the two transplant recipients,” the newspaper said.
Six tested positive for Epstein-Barr virus but did not have antibodies, implying prior, non-active infection.
Before hospitalization, most of the children experienced vomiting and diarrhea, while some experienced upper respiratory symptoms. During hospitalization, most had yellow eyes and skin (jaundice) and enlarged livers.
Last week, the CDC issued a health alert to notify doctors and public health authorities on the lookout for similar cases.
Wisconsin is investigating four cases, including two children who had serious outcomes, one who needed a liver transplant, and one death. Cases have also been reported in Illinois and elsewhere.
The CDC recommends that children stay up to date on their immunizations and that parents and caregivers practice preventive actions such as hand hygiene, avoiding sick people, covering coughs and sneezes, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. .
Adenoviruses are commonly transmitted by close personal contact, respiratory droplets, and surfaces. There are more than 50 types of adenoviruses, the ones that most commonly cause colds, but also many other illnesses.
Alabama cases of acute hepatitis in children show virus link: CDC
© 2022 AFP
Citation: Virus Could Be Behind Mysterious Childhood Hepatitis Cases: US Agency (April 30, 2022) Retrieved April 30, 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-04-virus -mystery-child-hepatitis-cases.html
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