Minnesota hospitals report cases of sudden hepatitis in children

A puzzling outbreak of sudden liver disease in children has been confirmed in Minnesota.

The Minnesota Department of Health has confirmed it is investigating several cases of childhood hepatitis reported by hospital systems. M Health Fairview confirmed that they have reported at least two cases of hepatitis of unknown origin.

The mysterious, serious and acute illness has spread around the world, with more than 100 confirmed cases worldwide so far. Health officials say it’s too early to tell what’s behind all this.

Hepatitis Death in Children in Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is investigating at least four cases of adenovirus-associated hepatitis in children in the state. This includes two children with serious consequences, one liver transplant and one fatality.

As a result, DHS issued a Health Alert Network (HAN) Health Advisory on Friday, April 29 to notify clinicians and public health authorities of the recent rise in cases of acute hepatitis and adenovirus infection in children.

Sudden liver disease in children: everything we know

Source: Associated Press

THE BASE: Formerly healthy children suddenly develop hepatitis, or inflammation of the liver, often caused by viruses. Jaundice, diarrhea and abdominal pain are among the reported symptoms. Children aged 1 month to 16 years are affected. Most cases have occurred in Europe. The first British cases were registered in January. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a nationwide health alert last week that the first U.S. cases were identified in Alabama in October.

THE SICKNESS: Hepatitis is usually caused by one of the many infectious hepatitis viruses that have not been found in affected children. Sometimes the disease is mild and does not require specific treatment. But severe cases require hospitalization and can lead to liver failure.

CAUSE: Authorities do not know what caused the outbreak. Nine children in the Alabama cluster tested positive for adenovirus. Some strains of the virus can cause the common cold, but authorities are also looking at a version that could cause digestive problems. It is not known whether that virus is a cause or contributes in some way to the outbreak.

LOCATIONS: Cases have been reported in at least a dozen countries, including Denmark, England, France, Ireland, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Scotland, Spain and the United Kingdom. In the United States, cases have also occurred in Illinois and North Carolina.

The CDC says all doctors should be on the lookout for symptoms and report any suspected case of so-called hepatitis of unknown origin.

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