Apr 21, 2022 - Health

CDC issues alert for rare cases of hepatitis in children

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters stands in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S, on Saturday, March 14, 2020.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia on March 14. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday issued an alert warning doctors to lookout for unusual cases of severe hepatitis and adenovirus infection in children, according to a health advisory.

Driving the news: Health officials and the Alabama Department of Public Health are investigating nine cases of hepatitis in children 1 to 6 years old who were hospitalized between October 2021 and February 2022 with significant liver injury, per the CDC.

  • The children were previously healthy and none had COVID-19. Two of the children required liver transplants.
  • "A possible association between pediatric hepatitis and adenovirus infection is currently under investigation," the CDC said.
  • All nine children also tested positive for adenovirus.

The big picture: Hepatitis refers to inflammation of the liver that can be caused by viral infections, alcohol use, toxins, medications and certain other medical conditions, per the CDC.

  • Signs and symptoms of hepatitis include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, light-colored stools, joint pain and jaundice.

What they're saying: "At this time, adenovirus may be the cause for these, but investigators are still learning more, including ruling out other possible causes and identifying other possible contributing factors," the CDC said in a statement, the Washington Post reports.

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