Mysterious Cases of Hepatitis in Kids Spread in US

Including one potentially fatal case
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 2, 2022 12:23 AM CDT
Mysterious Cases of Hepatitis in Kids Spread in US
Stock photo.   (Getty Images / gorodenkoff)

The mysterious liver ailment affecting kids in more than a dozen countries has now been seen in children in multiple US states, and for the first time, a US child may have died of the illness. Alabama, Illinois, and North Carolina were the first states to report cases, Today reports. Now, at least four children in Wisconsin have also recently been afflicted with unexplained severe acute hepatitis; all four also tested positive for adenovirus, which health officials have said may be linked to the liver illness. One needed a liver transplant and one died, Fox 6 reports. Symptoms of the mystery ailment include diarrhea, vomiting, jaundice, abdominal pain, dark urine, and light-colored stools, CBS News reports. Minnesota also recently confirmed it is investigating its own outbreak, with at least two cases confirmed, Fox 9 reports.

California is investigating seven cases, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Delaware, Tennessee, and Louisiana have also reported cases, and Georgia and New York are investigating possible cases, NBC News reports. While adenovirus typically causes symptoms similar to the common cold, adenovirus 41, the type possibly associated with the liver problems, can also cause gastrointestinal symptoms and has been known to cause hepatitis in immunocompromised people. But this outbreak is different, as the children involved have generally been otherwise healthy. About 200 cases have so far been reported in kids ages one month to 16 years old worldwide, 114 of those in the UK, the Guardian reports. It is not linked to the COVID vaccine, as many of the impacted children were too young to be vaccinated against COVID. (More hepatitis stories.)

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