Illinois health officials warn of potential cases of severe hepatitis in 3 children

CHICAGO (SCS) — Illinois public health officials are warning of three potential cases of severe hepatitis in children under 10, including two in suburban Chicago.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) said the three cases — two in suburban and one in western Illinois — are potentially linked to a strain of adenovirus, a group of common viruses. which cause fever, cough, sore throat, diarrhea and pink eye.

One of the three cases resulted in a liver transplant, according to IDPH.

“IDPH is working to learn of other suspected cases in Illinois and is asking health care providers in the state to be on the lookout for symptoms and to report any suspected cases of hepatitis in Illinois. children of unknown origin to local public health authorities,” IDPH said in a statement.

Hepatitis is a general term meant to indicate inflammation of the liver, according to Johns Hopkins. Symptoms of infection may include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, pale stools, joint pain, and jaundice.

These cases appear to have an association with adenovirus 41, according to IDPH.

“Adenoviruses spread from person to person and most commonly cause respiratory illnesses, but depending on the type, they can also cause other illnesses such as gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach or intestines ), conjunctivitis (pink eye), and cystitis (bladder infection). Adenovirus type 41 usually presents as diarrhea, vomiting, and fever, and is often accompanied by respiratory symptoms. that there have been case reports of hepatitis in immunocompromised children infected with adenovirus, adenovirus type 41 is not known to cause hepatitis in otherwise healthy children,” said said the IDPH in a press release.

The IDPH warning follows a CDC alert last week in response to a cluster of nine cases of hepatitis of unknown origin in children in Alabama, all of whom were previously healthy. The CDC is investigating unexplained positive cases of hepatitis and adenovirus infection in children. The CDC issued a nationwide health alert on Thursday asking parents and providers to monitor symptoms and report any potential cases of hepatitis without cause to local and state health departments.

“The CDC is working with state health departments to see if there are other cases in the United States and what may be causing these cases,” the CDC said in the alert. “We continue to recommend that children be up to date on all their immunizations, and that parents and caregivers of young children take the same daily preventative measures we recommend for everyone, including washing their hands often, avoiding sick people, covering coughs and sneezes, and avoiding touching their eyes, nose, or mouth. The CDC will share additional information as it becomes available.”

The news comes nearly six months after the health organization began investigating strange reported cases of hepatitis in children. Since October 21, 2021, the State of Alabama has reported nine cases of hepatitis in children ages 1 to 6 with no known cause. The same type of cluster infections have also been reported by World Health Organization in several countries, including Scotland, the United Kingdom, Spain and Ireland.

In Alabama, the first five sick children were not admitted to hospital for COVID-19[feminine] infection, but had significant liver damage and liver failure in some cases. Further research found four other children with the same liver conditions who also had adenovirus 41 infection, which can cause “pediatric acute gastroenteritis,” according to the CDC.

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