At least 10 more states across the United States are reporting similar cases of severe acute hepatitis—liver disease of unknown origin—after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a national health alert regarding a mysterious cluster of the virus on April 21.
The cases involve previously healthy children between the ages of 1 month to 16 years old, many of whom are suddenly developing hepatitis and displaying gastrointestinal symptoms including abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting, as well as jaundice, or yellowing of the skin and eyes.
Doug Schultz, a spokesperson for the Minnesota Department of Health, told local TV station KSTP-TV on April 30 that it is investigating several cases of unexplained hepatitis in children.
Two of those children, one of which is an infant and the other who is two, have required liver transplants, he said. One of them still waiting.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) on April 27 also issued a health alert after four cases were reported among children, including two who had severe outcomes, one who required a liver transplant, and one that resulted in death.
Similar cases have also been reported in Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, New York, North Carolina, and Tennessee, according to the New York Post.
Nine cases have also been reported in Alabama since November 2021, the state’s Department of Public Health announced on April 15.
Meanwhile, California is also investigating seven cases, the first of which was reported in October 2021, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Researchers believe the outbreak of severe acute hepatitis may be linked to adenovirus, a viral infection that usually causes the common cold.
“We do not know yet if adenovirus played a role in these rare illnesses or if these cases are connected,” Ali Bay, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Public Health, told the Chronicle.
“While only a few cases of this rare illness have been reported, we urge parents and guardians to take common sense general measures to prevent infection and illness, such as good hand hygiene, covering coughs and sneezes, and keeping children home from school or childcare while they are ill.”