All of the nine children that were diagnosed with ‘mysterious hepatitis’ in Alabama in October and November 2021 tested positive for the adenovirus, and none had COVID-19, a new reporter from the CDC reveals.
The report, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday afternoon, gives the most detailed look yet at the nine case that started what has since become a global outbreak of hepatitis.
All cases tied to the outbreak have been a rare form of the liver disease, not caused by the usual suspects, Hepatitis A, B or C. Instead many suspected either COVID-19 or the adenovirus was behind the infection.
Now, the CDC has revealed that all nine children tested positive for the adenovirus and negative for Covid. The agency also reports that seven of the nine children were female, and fine were two years old or younger.
Some experts had initially speculated that COVID-19 could be at the heart of the recent global hepatitis outbreak, for which there are 20 confirmed or suspected U.S. cases and over 100 worldwide.
Cases first emerged earlier this month, being detected scattered across Europe and in Alabama.
These are not typical cases of the liver disease, though with experts perplexed by how exactly they are emerging, since the usual causes have been confirmed not to have been the cause.
Dr Kathryn Smith (pictured), a pediatric transplant hepatologist at Johns Hopkins University, told DailyMail.com that the adenovirus is not yet confirmed to be the cause of this hepatitis outbreak, and warns that the virus is not very rare
The CDC reports that this batch of cases was detected in October and November 2021 at children’s hospitals in Alabama.
There is no geographical link between the cases, with the children all coming from different parts of the state. The agency did not give specifics as to what part of the state the children were from.
All were eventually treated within the Children’s of Alabama health system. Two required liver transplants and fully recovered, and none of the patients died.
While the CDC did not give specific ages for each of the patients, it did reveal that five of them were two years old or younger, one was either three or four years old and three were aged five or six.
Six of the children were Hispanic-white, while the other three were non-Hispanic-white.
Investigators revealed that the most common symptoms were vomiting and diarrhea, with more than half of the children suffering a fever as well.
After a further physical examination eight of the nine children were discovered to be suffering from scleral icterus, a condition where a person’s skin and eyes turn yellow.
Six others also were found to be suffering from jaundice, a lung condition that displays itself in similar ways.
Each was also given a PCR test to determine if they had any viral infections – general considered to be the cause of the liver disease developing.
All nine were confirmed to have the adenovirus, while none had Covid, effectively ending speculation that the virus that caused a global pandemic over the past two years is directly responsible.
Wisconsin health officials also told DailyMail.com this week that the four cases detected in the midwestern state – including the lone death that has occurred from hepatitis so far – were also caused by the adenovirus.
The adenovirus is generally paired with a common cold, though it can develop into more serious conditions like pneumonia in severe infections.
All of the pediatric hepatitis patients in Alabama were found to have the adenovirus, while none had COVID-19 (file photo)
Dr Kathryn Smith, a pediatric transplant hepatologist at Johns Hopkins University, told DailyMail.com that the adenovirus may not quite be the cause, though.
She notes that the virus could just coincidentally have been found in the cases, and because it was not found in the actual liver tissue of any cases so far it is possible that it is not the culprit.
‘[Adenovirus] is common, people get it often and usually presents with diarrhea vomiting something as it can present with, you know, respiratory symptoms,’ she said.
‘But generally, it’s it’s pretty you know, common in the community, but it generally doesn’t cause this kind of dramatic presentation.’