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CDC identifies probable cause of mysterious hepatitis outbreak

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A study published Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says an adenovirus may be the cause of a mysterious liver disease that’s targeting children between the ages of one month and 16 years.

According to the CDC, adenoviruses are common viruses that can result in cold-like symptoms, fever, sore throat and bronchitis, to name a few. 

The ongoing CDC investigation and published study are specific to cases at a children’s hospital in Alabama. The CDC, in collaboration with the Alabama Department of Public Health, is looking into the cases of 9 children with hepatitis of an unknown cause.

In the fall of 2021, doctors at the children’s hospital identified five patients with severe hepatitis and adenovirus infection. An additional investigation discovered four more sick children, all with liver injury and adenovirus infection, according to the CDC.

The report indicates two of the 9 patients required a liver transplant and three developed liver failure, but all have since recovered. 

The CDC says most of the children presented symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and yellowing eyes and skin.