CDC issues alert on cluster of hepatitis cases in children

A cluster of severe hepatitis cases in Alabama children prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue a national heal...


A cluster of severe hepatitis cases in Alabama children prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue a national health alert Wednesday, urging doctors and health officials to monitor and report any similar cases.

Authorities are investigating the possibility that an adenovirus, one of a group of common viruses that can cause cold-like symptoms, as well as gastroenteritis, pink eye and other conditions, may be responsible.

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that has a wide range of causes, including viruses, chemical exposures, certain medications, and other medical conditions.

The Alabama Department of Public Health has recorded nine unexplained cases of hepatitis in otherwise healthy children under the age of 10, occurring between last October and February. None of the children died, but several developed liver failure and two required liver transplants.

All nine children tested positive for adenovirus infections. Several have been determined to have what is known as adenovirus type 41, which typically causes diarrhea, vomiting, and respiratory symptoms.

Adenoviruses are known to cause hepatitis, although usually in immunocompromised children.

“It’s not typical for it to cause complete liver failure in healthy children,” said Dr. Aaron Milstone, pediatric infectious disease specialist at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

The CDC has ruled out some common causes of liver inflammation, including hepatitis A, B and C viruses, in the Alabama cases, the agency said. in a press release on Thursday.

“At this time, we believe adenovirus may be the cause of these reported cases, but investigators are still learning more, including ruling out other possible causes and identifying other possible contributing factors,” the statement said. ‘agency.

Similar cases have recently been reported in Britain.

Many questions remain about the cases of hepatitis, which remain rare, underline the experts.

“It’s important not to panic,” said Dr. Richard Malley, an infectious disease physician at Boston Children’s Hospital. “But I think, for all the reasons you can imagine, it’s important for the CDC to ask clinicians across the country to be vigilant.”

Bertha Hidalgo, an epidemiologist at the University of Alabama at the Birmingham School of Public Health, agreed: “A cluster of cases, particularly in this age group, is definitely something to watch closely.”

Although it is possible that an adenovirus was the cause, the connection remains unproven. Doctors noted that adenovirus infections are common in children and children may have been infected with the virus by chance.

So far there is no clear link to the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, experts have said. Although several of the British children tested positive for coronavirusnone of the Alabama children had Covid, CDC says

Dr Milstone said he thought a link to coronavirus was “unlikely” but could not be entirely ruled out. “You have to put a question mark here,” he said.

The agency is asking health care providers to test children with unexplained hepatitis for adenovirus infections and to report such cases to health officials.

Signs of severe hepatitis include prolonged fever, severe abdominal pain, and jaundice, yellowing of the skin and eyes; caregivers who observe these symptoms should contact the child’s pediatrician immediately, Dr. Malley said. Even severe cases of hepatitis can be treated, he added.

And if the cases have a viral cause, the same strategies that many families have used to reduce the risk of Covid – including washing hands and covering coughs and sneezes – will be useful prevention strategies.

“All of these things they learned about how to protect their children from Covid will help protect their children from other viruses,” Dr Milstone said.

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Newsrust - US Top News: CDC issues alert on cluster of hepatitis cases in children
CDC issues alert on cluster of hepatitis cases in children
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