Hepatitis in Children; What We Know

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says five children have died, and 109 have been diagnosed with severe hepatitis in the U.S.

Doctors and medical professionals remain puzzled about how this mysterious disease spread worldwide. Scientists are trying to figure out what’s responsible for this unusual outbreak.

An increasing number of unexplained global hepatitis outbreaks have claimed more lives. Thirty-six states in the US reported at least 109 children got sick, including five who died. Twenty-two countries report 429 similar issues to the World Health Organization.

According to an epidemiologist, Dr. John Brownstein at Boston Children’s Hospital, the country has yet to build a causal link with the increase in cases. He added that the combination of pathogens and environmental exposure could be one of many causes of this health crisis. Several experts have also linked the problem to COVID-19 presently spreading across the world. Adenoviruses, which usually cause mild flu, respiratory infections, and gastrointestinal infections, are suspected as the primary cause of this rare outbreak. 

Over 90% of kids were diagnosed and hospitalized, 14% required organ transplants, and over half tested positive for adenovirus infection.

CDC officials reported earlier this month that most reported cases have recovered from their illness and is recommending parents look out for the following symptoms:

  • fever
  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • abdominal pain
  • dark urine
  • light-colored stools (poop)
  • joint pain
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin)

Most importantly, if you have any concern related to your child’s illness make sure to get an appointment with their pediatrician or go to your local urgent care or emergency department for a complete evaluation.