The North Dakota Department of Health is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in investigating a child with hepatitis of unknown cause.
The child resides in Grand Forks County and is recovering at home after a brief hospitalization. North Dakota is now among a growing list of states investigating children with hepatitis where the usual causes have been ruled out.
Close to 100 similar cases have been seen in Europe, along with dozens of cases in Alabama, Delaware, Louisiana, Illinois, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Georgia and New York.
The CDC says there is no link between the hepatitis cases and COVID-19.
On April 21, 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.
“We are encouraging medical providers to review their records back to October 2021 for any patients that warrant further investigation,” said North Dakota Department of Health Medical Services Section Chief Kirby Kruger. “NDDoH is working with the CDC to help identify cases that will aid in understanding the cause of hepatitis in children and to understand how we can prevent these illnesses from happening in the future.”
Parents are encouraged to watch for symptoms of hepatitis, or inflammation of the liver. These symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, light-colored stools, and jaundice, or yellow skin or eyes. Talk to your medical provider if your child is experiencing these symptoms.
A link between cases of hepatitis and adenovirus infection has been suggested. Because of this, CDC is asking physicians to consider adenovirus testing. Adenovirus infections are common and occur among persons of all ages. Symptoms may include cold-like symptoms, fever, sore throat, pneumonia, diarrhea, or pink eye.
The North Dakota Department of Health is encouraging everyday precautions to keep children safe, including washing hands often, staying home when ill, avoiding people who are sick, covering coughs and sneezes, avoiding touching the eyes, nose, or mouth, and staying up-to-date on routinely recommended vaccines.