EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The Centers for Disease Control issued a national health alert about a global hepatitis outbreak Friday. In the US at least 27 cases have been reported in 7 states.

In Wisconsin, Health officials are investigating the death of a child that could be related to this outbreak and the cases of two other children with “severe outcomes”.

No further details were offered in the later cases but if the children are confirmed to have hepatitis and adenovirus, the child from Wisconsin would be the first known death in the U.S. linked to this cases that up to today, remain without an explanation.

The CDC had issued numerous warnings before as well as the World Health Organization about clusters of children infected with hepatitis. Other countries reporting cases include the United Kingdom, Spain, and Ireland.

According to the CDC, hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver and can be caused by many elements, including viruses, toxins, medications, and certain other medical conditions. Every year, unexplained hepatitis cases appear.

In a recent study, “Acute Hepatitis and Adenovirus Infection Among Children – Alabama, October 2021 – February 2022”, clinical information in provided on an ongoing investigation in Alabama relating children with severe hepatitis.

The cause is still unknown, and the children were reported to be previously healthy.  

The Alabama Department of Public Health and the CDC in the Fall of 2021 identified five patients with severe hepatitis and adenovirus infection, some with acute liver failure. All ranged from about 1 to 6-years-old and had no significant underlying conditions.

Clinical records later identified four more cases and all of them showed liver injury and adenovirus infection. The patients didn’t show any epidemiologic links among them and were from different parts of the state.

Update – At this time, the CDC believes the adenovirus may be the cause for these reported cases, but other potential factors are still investigated. The report is specific to the Alabama investigation and no update has been given on other suspected cases in the U.S.

Previous recommendations were issued form the Health Alert Network (HAN) asking physicians to be on the lookout for symptoms and suspected cases of unknown origin. About pediatric hepatitis without a known cause, the CDC is aware of a spike of cases recently reported in Europe and has been in contact with its European counter parts.

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