While it’s still a rare occurrence, a liver ailment that appears to affect children has infectious disease experts mystified—and concerned, given that five children have died and 16 of the 109 afflicted have had to undergo liver transplant. Nearly a hundred have been hospitalized. It’s not a local or regional problem, either, as cases have been confirmed in 25 states and U.S. territories. Right now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is looking at the illness as “hepatitis of unknown cause,” with symptoms that include fever, fatigue, joint or muscle pain, loss of appetite or nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, or abdominal pain/tenderness. Telltale yellowing of the skin and eyes should also prompt suspicion. More than 160 cases have occurred in the United Kingdom, as well. As JUCM News reported recently, more than half the patients have tested positive for adenovirus. First reports of the mysterious illness emerged 2 weeks ago when nine such cases were identified retrospectively in Alabama alone, with the first of those occurring in Fall 2021.
Update: Transplants, Deaths, and No Answers Regarding Sudden Pediatric Liver Illness