Parents and health officials are on high alert as a string of liver infections grows across the US. So far there are no reported cases of the mysterious hepatitis in NJ children, but the New Jersey Department of Health is monitoring for any reports of potential cases.
Around 30 cases of hepatitis have been reported across 10 states and there are around 300 probable cases worldwide, with most of the patients residing in the UK. Experts are unsure what is causing the mysterious illness, saying it could be linked to adenovirus, a virus that causes the common cold.
According to the CDC, this all began in the fall of 2021 when five children were admitted to an Alabama hospital with severe hepatitis and adenovirus. An investigation was initiated, and more cases turned up in the US, Europe and Asia. In April, the CDC issued a nationwide health alert “to notify clinicians and public health authorities about a cluster of children identified with hepatitis and adenovirus infection — and to ask all physicians to be on the lookout for symptoms and to report any suspected cases of hepatitis of unknown origin to their local and state health departments.”
The World Health Organization says that kids ages 1 month to 16 years old have been affected. The infections have caused four deaths and 17 children needed a liver transplant. The symptoms afflicting the children include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain before their livers showed signs of inflammation.
Parents should also be on the lookout for jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and eyes. If you see any of these symptoms in your child, contact your pediatrician immediately.