CDC Issues Health Alert on Hepatitis Cases of Unknown Origin

On Thursday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a nationwide health alert notifying clinicians and public health authorities about a cluster of children identified with hepatitis and adenovirus infection. The CDC is asking all health care providers to be on the lookout for symptoms and report any suspected cases of hepatitis of unknown origin to their local and state health departments.

CDC is working with the Alabama Department of Public Health to investigate a cluster of nine cases of hepatitis of unknown origin in children ranging in age from one to six years old, all of whom were previously healthy. None of the children were in the hospital due to a current COVID-19 infection. The first U.S. cases were identified in October 2021 at an Alabama children’s hospital that admitted five children with significant liver injury without known cause who also tested positive for adenovirus. Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C viruses were ruled out, according to the CDC.

Upon investigation, a hospital record review identified four additional cases. No known epidemiological link or common exposures were found among the children. A statewide alert to elicit additional cases in early February 2022 has not yielded further reports. The CDC acknowledges an increase in cases of pediatric hepatitis without a known cause in Europe and continues working with European and U.S. state counterparts in determining the cause of cases.

Additional information, including the health alert, is available here.