MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WDHN) — The Alabama Department of Public Health is investigating an increase of Adenovirus 41 in children.

Since November 2021, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), in collaboration with pediatric healthcare providers including hospitals that treat children and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has been investigating an increase in hepatitis in young children.

“We don’t know why this particular type of the virus is causing this liver injury,” Dr. Wes Stubblefield with the ADPH tells WDHN. “Although like I said there have only been a few cases, scattered out over a few months.
And we can’t really find a link between any of the cases, the cases have really been separated by distance and time.”

These children presented to providers in different areas of Alabama with symptoms of a gastrointestinal illness and varying degrees of liver injury including liver failure.

Later analyses have revealed a possible association of this hepatitis with Adenovirus 41.

To date, nine children less than 10 years old have been identified as positive for adenovirus and two have required liver transplants.

Alabama health officials say they have been looking into an increase in hepatitis in children since November. In each case, the child tested positive for adenovirus. Officials are exploring a link to one particular version — adenovirus 41 — that’s normally associated with gut inflammation.

“We have noticed cases around October or November of last year and going into early February so there has been a lot of time,” Dr. Stubblefield said.

None of the Alabama cases had any underlying health conditions that would seem to put them at risk for liver illness, health officials said.