CDC issues health alert as mystery liver disease sickens more US children – NBC Chicago
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published a nationwide public health alert to physicians, asking physicians to be on the lookout for unusual cases of severe liver disease in children.
The agency said in its advisory Thursday that nine cases of hepatitis, or inflammation of the liver, have been reported in Alabama in children ages 1 to 6, and NBC News reporting two more have been identified in North Carolina, according to the state health department
Dozens of cases have been reported in recent weeks in children in Britain and across Europe. The usual viruses that cause infectious hepatitis have not been seen in the cases, and scientists and doctors are considering other possible sources.
“Mild hepatitis is very common in children following a series of viral infections, but what you’re seeing right now is quite different,” said Graham Cooke, professor of infectious diseases at Imperial College of London. London. Some of the children in the UK have needed specialist care in liver units and a few have needed liver transplants.
The liver processes nutrients, filters the blood and fights infections. The infections caused symptoms like jaundice, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Hepatitis can be life threatening if left untreated.
Although it is not known what causes the diseases, one of the main suspects is an adenovirus.
There are dozens of adenoviruses, many of which are associated with cold-like symptoms, fever, sore throat, and pink eyes. US authorities said the nine Alabama children had tested positive for adenovirus and authorities were exploring a link to a particular version – adenovirus 41 – which is normally associated with intestinal inflammation.
The CDC advisory on Thursday urges pediatricians to consider adenovirus testing.
Public health officials have ruled out any link to COVID-19 vaccines, saying none of the children involved had been vaccinated.
The WHO noted that although there has been an increase in adenoviruses in Britain, the potential role of these viruses in triggering hepatitis is unclear. The WHO said there were fewer than five possible cases in Ireland and three confirmed cases in Spain, in children aged 22 months to 13 years.
The UN health agency said that given the increase in the number of cases over the past month and heightened surveillance, it was “very likely” that more cases would be detected.