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NJ investigating 4 cases of severe hepatitis in children amid national concern

By on May 19, 2022 0

At least four young New Jersey patients are being investigated as potential cases of severe childhood hepatitis – a troubling national health concern.

State health officials say the children – ranging from infants to 7 years old – have all recovered after being hospitalized between October 2021 and February.

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. None of the New Jersey children had liver transplants and all tested negative for COVID-19, state officials said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has so far identified 180 pediatric patients in 36 US states and territories under investigation over the past seven months.

In April, the state health department advised healthcare providers to monitor and report such suspected cases of “hepatitis of unknown origin.”

No deaths have been reported since February and the proportion of patients requiring liver transplantation is now around 9%, up from 15% as of May 5.

Hepatitis cases in children (Townsquare Media)

Acute hepatitis in children (Townsquare Media)

Many are “retrospective” patients just reported, the CDC continued, rather than new cases of hepatitis, some ultimately may not be linked to the ongoing investigation.

Adenovirus was detected in nearly half of the children and “continues to be a strong lead,” CDC officials said. These are common viruses, which usually cause a mild cold or flu.

The CDC continues to investigate possible causes, including testing and ruling out some of the viruses that commonly cause hepatitis (types A, B, C, D, and E).

While such severe cases in children remain rare, CDC officials said, guardians should be on alert.

“We encourage parents and caregivers to be aware of the symptoms of hepatitis – especially jaundice, which is yellowing of the skin or eyes – and to contact their child’s healthcare provider if there is a problem. .”

Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at [email protected]

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