DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — An investigation is underway as to what has caused 9 children in Alabama to suffer severe liver disease causing two of the children to require liver transplants. The million-dollar question they are scrambling to answer is: what is causing this mystery illness in children younger than 10?
While medical experts are still stumped as to what this illness may be, Alabama is still the only state to report cases of this mystery virus. According to state medical experts, it’s difficult to say why this virus is showing up only in Alabama right now.
The Alabama children tested positive for both the adenovirus, a common virus that causes cold-like symptoms, and hepatitis. Although testing has ruled out hepatitis types A, B, and C, experts believe there will be more cases moving forward.
“I think there is a lot of work to be done,” the Assistant Professor in the division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Henry Shiau, M.D., said. “I am sure there may be other children that present, and we will hopefully learn more on how this is specifically affecting the liver.”
At this time, it’s unknown where in Alabama the 9 children live. It is reported that none of them had underlying health conditions.
Medical experts say other cases of this mystery virus have shown up in parts of Europe.
“Right now, mystery our counterpart in Europe also noticing some cases,” Medical analysis, Dr. Jennifer Ashton said. “It doesn’t appear to be related to Covid, but this is something that health officials are keeping an eye on.”
Medical experts say it’s important that parents know the signs. If a child has signs of jaundice, which is the yellowing of the skin or eyes, call a pediatrician immediately. Although nausea and fever are also factors they aren’t signs of panic.
They also said it’s important kids practice healthy habits such as washing their hands for 20 seconds or more each time.
“We kept seeing a similar presentation of children coming in with similar stories of fever, jaundice may be vomiting and diarrhea and clinical signs of hepatitis and went on to have positive adenovirus testing in the bloodstream,” Pediatric Infectious Diseases Physician, Markus Buchfellner, M.D., said.
In terms of treatment, experts tell WDHN News, that antiviral medications and management strategies such as liver transplants have been able to treat the virus.
Medical professionals in Alabama will continue to coordinate with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to continue to test children and investigate the theories as to why this virus has caused such severe illness.
“Does anyone have a theory? Well, we have theories but right now we don’t have any proof or any support for that,” Dr. Karen Landers with the Alabama Department of Public Health said. “I believe also in addition to our investigation is continuing to raise awareness.”
At this time, it is reported that all 9 of the children who had been diagnosed with this mystery illness are doing well. Including the two who needed the liver transplants.
Once again medical experts have said there are no common links between any of the children which according to them is making this virus even more puzzling.