BEAUMONT, Texas — There’s new information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week on its investigation into what is causing acute liver failure known as hepatitis in children.
The CDC reported 109 cases in 25 states. So far, five kids have died and 14% of those cases needed liver transplants.
Adenovirus has a wide range of symptoms including respiratory problems, fever, pneumonia, and diarrhea. According to the CDC, many of those children who have contracted hepatitis are testing positive for adenovirus but not all of them.
The CDC is asking health departments across the US to test kids who have hepatitis for adenovirus, which is a common virus causing flu-like illness or stomach problems. But, adenovirus type 41 is not a common cause of hepatitis in healthy children.
“This is rare. We have not seen it before,” said Cordella Lyon, the HIV program coordinator at Baptist Hospitals.
While hepatitis is rare, experts say it's not impossible for children to get it. Although adenovirus was detected in some children, the CDC doesn't know if that's the cause of the hepatitis outbreak. So, has the hepatitis of unknown origin reached our region?
“We're not aware of any cases in this area of hepatitis in children,” Lyon said.
Some forms of hepatitis can be treated and cured at Baptist Hospitals. For now, health officials say worried parents aren't helpless.
“Ensure that your child is immunized ensure their immunizations are up to date ensure and practice good hand washing,” Lyon said.
And they want parents to watch out for symptoms in their children like fatigue, restlessness, jaundice, and dark urine, according to Lyon.
It's unknown how children are contracting hepatitis or the origin of hepatitis. Health experts ruled out hepatitis A through E, bacteria, urinary tract infection, autoimmune hepatitis, Wilson disease, COVID-19 vaccines, and coronavirus.
The CDC is also looking into exposure to toxins or other possible infections. It is not clear how many hepatitis cases are in children right now or if hepatitis cases are on the rise. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms listed, visit your healthcare provider immediately.