‘Multiple’ cases of rare liver disease in children reported in Minnesota, says MDH – WCCO

Originally published April 29, 2022

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – According to the Minnesota Department of Health, several cases of rare but serious childhood liver disease have been reported in the state.

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Last week, the Center for Disease Control issued an alert after a cluster of cases of hepatitis and adenovirus were detected in children ages 1 to 6.

On Friday, M Health Fairview reported two cases of illness to the Minnesota Department of Health.

Dr Heli Bhatt, pediatric gastroenterologist at M Health Fairview, said a baby had recently received a liver transplant. At the time, doctors were unaware of the need to test the cases of hepatitis and adenovirus popping up across the country, but in hindsight, the baby’s case fits the criteria.

More than two dozen cases have been reported across the country, including at least four in Wisconsin earlier this week. A Wisconsin child needed a liver transplant and another died.

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The CDC believes adenovirus is the cause of the reported cases, but investigators are learning more.

Symptoms of hepatitis include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, joint pain, and jaundice. Adenoviruses are transmitted from person to person and most often cause respiratory diseases. It presents as diarrhea, vomiting and fever.

The CDC encourages anyone who interacts with children to wash their hands often, avoid sick people, cover coughs and sneezes, and avoid touching their eyes.

The disease is still quite rare, affecting around 200 children in Europe and the United States.

“It’s a disease that we just see,” Bhatt said. “But let’s not panic.”

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The Minnesota Department of Health says it is awaiting additional lab tests.

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