At least 10 states — including New York — have reported pediatric hepatitis cases as part of a mysterious international outbreak, officials said.
Minnesota has emerged as the latest state to report several severe cases of liver inflammation in children, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.
State health agencies in Georgia and New York have reported they were looking into “a handful” of childhood hepatitis cases, NBC News reported.
Nine cases were also reported in Alabama, two in North Carolina, one each in Delaware and Louisiana, three in Illinois, four in Wisconsin, six in Tennessee and at least two in Minnesota.
At least three young patients have required liver transplants, and one child in Wisconsin died.
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced a week ago that a dozen countries have reported 169 cases of acute hepatitis among children, 114 of them in the UK.
Patients ranged from 1 month to 16 years old, and more common forms of liver disease — hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C — were ruled out, the health organization said.
Common symptoms of the disease include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, light-colored stools, joint pain and jaundice.
The illness is being called hepatitis of unknown origin. The cases have no known connection, although a link with adenovirus that can colds is being investigated.
In Minnesota, M Health Fairview reported two cases to the state Department of Health, which involve an infant and a 2-year-old. One of the patients was treated several months ago, which included a liver transplant, hospital officials said.
“Why this kid had such severe acute hepatitis is unknown,” said Dr. Heli Bhatt, M Health Fairview pediatric gastroenterologist and transplant hepatologist. “It was kind of fitting enough for me to let the Minnesota Department of Health know and they are going to investigate the case further.”
The other patient is in the hospital and is on the transplant list, Bhatt told KSTP-TV.
“I pray for that kid to turn around, which they might, but some of those indicators do say that it is severe and so we have evaluated this patient for transplant,” she said.
The CDC sent out an alert to physicians nationwide a week ago, encouraging them to test children with severe liver illness for the adenovirus.
With Post wires