October 6, 2022

Alabama Severe Pediatric Hepatitis Cases May Be Adenovirus

Alabama severe pediatric hepatitis cases may be adenovirus, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH). The CDC, along with pediatric healthcare providers, are investigating this increase in cases. The children, who live in different areas of Alabama, presented with symptoms of a gastrointestinal illness and varying degree of liver injury, including liver failure. There is a possible association with Adenovirus 41.

Alabama Severe Pediatric Hepatitis Cases May Be Adenovirus

Nine children under the age of 10 have tested positive for adenovirus. Two of these children have needed liver transplants. An epidemiological link among the patients has not be established. None of the children had any underlying health conditions before they got sick.

ADPH has issued a Health Alert Network notification on February 1, 2022 to try to find more cases. Other agencies working with ADPH include¬†Children’s of Alabama and Texas Children’s. New York State Health Department Wadsworth Center and the Infectious Disease Pathology Branch at CDC are performing testing on the specimens.

Adenovirus usually cause a mild, self-limiting flu-like or gastrointestinal illness. It’s very rare that, in people who are healthy, the viruses cause an illness so severe that hospitalization is required.

Adenoviruses spread from an infected person to others in several ways: close personal contact, through the air by coughing or sneezing; by touching a surface contaminated with the virus; and contact with stool, such as during diaper changing.

These viruses are often resistant to common disinfectants and can remain contagious for long periods of time on surfaces. To protect yourself, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after going to the bathroom or changing a diaper. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose with unwashed hands. And avoid close contact with people who are sick.

If your child has been experiencing a gastrointestinal illness  with symptoms such as watery diarrhea, a fever, and abdominal pain, and you live in Alabama, see your pediatrician. Your child may be part of this Alabama severe pediatric hepatitis outbreak.

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