DHHS And Local Health Departments Investigate Pediatric Hepatitis Cases Of Unknown Origin

(1011now.com Lincoln May 7, 2022) The CDC released a Health Alert Network Advisory April 21 describing a cluster of cases of hepatitis liver inflammation in children, potentially associated with an adenovirus infection.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and local health departments are investigating nine similar cases of pediatric hepatitis of unknown origin, which were reported by community members and Children’s Hospital.

Among these nine, hepatitis was identified between Nov. 5, 2021, and March 6, 2022.

The median age of the patients is two. Three of the nine tested positive for adenovirus. There have been no identified transplants and no identified deaths. Investigations are ongoing.

“Adenoviruses spread through respiratory droplets and through contact with contaminated surfaces,” said Dr. Matthew Donahue, Nebraska State Epidemiologist. “They traditionally cause common colds, diarrhea and pink eye. It’s not yet clear if these cases of hepatitis are a result of adenovirus infection, a combination of infections, or a factor not yet identified. The unknowns surrounding these cases underscore the role of public health investigations. Clinicians should notify their local public health department if they’re treating a patient less than 10 years of age with hepatitis of unknown origin.”

For more information about symptoms of hepatitis and more information about adenovirus, see CDC’s HAN Advisory.

For a map of Nebraska LHDs, click here.