The Washington Post: CDC issues nationwide alert about mysterious hepatitis cases in kids
By Lena H. Sun & Ariana Eunjung Cha
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a nationwide health alert Thursday about an unusual cluster of serious hepatitis cases in young children for which the cause, or causes, is not known.
Federal health officials and the Alabama Department of Public Health are investigating nine cases of hepatitis in children 1-to-6 years old who were hospitalized between October 2021 and February 2022 with significant liver injury. All of the children were previously healthy, officials said, and two required liver transplants. There are no reported deaths. CDC’s alert is to notify physicians and public health authorities nationwide to be on the lookout for symptoms and report suspected cases.
At Children’s Mercy Kansas City, physician Ryan Fischer said his area has not seen an increase in hepatitis cases similar to what has been seen in Alabama. The hospital typically sees one to three cases of pediatric liver failure needing transplants annually or close to it. This year, there have been four patients and two of those patients also had coronavirus, Fischer said.
“It’s really interesting and incredibly difficult to try to figure out why they have it,” said Fischer, who is chief of the section of hepatology and transplant medicine.
“First and foremost, having acute liver failure is exceptionally rare, even in this time of heightened awareness,” he said.
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