U.S. reports first death potentially linked to mysterious hepatitis outbreak in children

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:


  • Wisconsin reported that four hepatitis cases — 1 that required a liver transplant, 1 resulted in death — are being investigated in the state.
  • This is the first recorded child death in the U.S. that’s possibly linked to the hepatitis outbreak across different countries.
  • Medical experts are baffled about what’s causing the liver inflammation, but it’s possibly caused by adenovirus.

Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) reported the first pediatric death in the United States possibly linked to the mysterious hepatitis outbreak and adenovirus.

“Since being notified of this adenovirus-associated hepatitis cluster, DHS is now investigating at least four similar cases among children in Wisconsin. This includes two children who had severe outcomes, one liver transplant, and one fatality.” 

A health alert was issued urging U.S. doctors to consider testing for adenovirus in children who have hepatitis of unknown etiology. They are also encouraged to report these cases to their state public health labs and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Last week, the DHS first issued an official health alert regarding a cluster of 9 previously healthy pediatric cases with liver disease. These include three patients with liver failure and two requiring a liver transplant, who were admitted to a large children’s hospital in Alabama between October 2021 and February 2022. Five out of the nine specimens tested positive for adenovirus.

North Carolina reported that the two “school-aged” children who developed severe hepatitis have already recovered.

In Illinois, the Department of Public Health is investigating three suspected cases of hepatitis in children under the age of 10. They are possibly linked to adenovirus, including two in Chicago suburbs, where one required a liver transplant.  

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported 169 cases of acute hepatitis of unknown etiology on April 23. The patients’ ages range from 1 month to 16 years old, with approximately 10% requiring liver transplantation and at least one death.

The WHO said that the majority of these cases so far are in the United Kingdom, where the country ” … has recently observed a significant increase in adenovirus infections in the community (particularly detected in fecal samples in children) following low levels of circulation earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic.”  

The agency added that 74 cases have tested positive for adenovirus in the outbreak that has now spread to 12 countries worldwide. Japan and Canada are currently investigating similar cases.

Experts ruled out a link to COVID-19 vaccines as the affected children in the U.K. were not vaccinated.

 “While adenovirus is currently one hypothesis as the underlying cause, it does not fully explain the severity of the clinical picture. Infection with adenovirus type 41, the implicated adenovirus type, has not previously been linked to such a clinical presentation,” the WHO said

Source: Fox News

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