Adenovirus found in children with mysterious hepatitis in the US

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Adenovirus found in children with mysterious hepatitis in the US

Nine children affected by mysterious cases of hepatitis in the southern US state of Alabama have tested positive for a common pathogen called adenovirus 41.

The US Federal Public Health Agency assesses that it may be an explanation for these serious inflammations of the liver, it said on Friday (29).

Children, aged one to six years, are among about 170 cases reported in 11 countries in recent weeks, according to the WHO (World Health Organization). Another US state, Wisconsin, is investigating a death.

The new CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) article deals specifically with the Alabama group, but research continues 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 agency said in a statement accompanying the study.

Adenovirus 41 is known to cause gastroenteritis in children, but “it is not generally known to be a cause of hepatitis in healthy children,” according to the CDC.

However, research ruled out other common exposures, including Covid-19, hepatitis A, B and C viruses (the most common causes of hepatitis in the US), autoimmune hepatitis and Wilson’s disease, a rare inherited disorder.

Alabama’s nine cases occurred between October 2021 and February 2022. Three of the children had acute liver failure, two of whom required liver transplants.

“All patients have recovered or are recovering, including those who received transplants,” the study said.

Prior to hospitalization, most children had vomiting and diarrhea, while some had upper respiratory symptoms. During hospitalization, most had yellow eyes and skin (jaundice) and had swollen liver.

Last week, the CDC issued a health alert to warn doctors and public health officials who are on the lookout for similar cases.

In the United States, Wisconsin is investigating four cases, including children who were left in serious condition, one who needed a liver transplant and one death. Cases have also been reported in Illinois and elsewhere.

The CDC recommends that children be up to date on their vaccinations and that their parents and guardians take preventative measures, such as hand hygiene, avoiding sick people, covering yourself when coughing and sneezing, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Adenoviruses are usually transmitted by close personal contact, respiratory droplets, and surfaces. There are more than 50 types of them — the most common ones cause the cold, but many other illnesses as well.

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