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'Several' Cases Of Rare Children's Liver Illness Reported In Minnesota, MDH Says

Originally published April 29, 2022

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - Several cases of a rare-yet-severe children's liver illness have been reported in the state, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

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

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

Dr. Heli Bhatt, a pediatric gastroenterologist at M Health Fairview, said a baby recently received a liver transplant. At the time, doctors did not know to test for the cases of hepatitis and adenovirus popping up across the nation, but looking back, 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. One child in Wisconsin needed a liver transplant, and another died.

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

Hepatitis symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, joint pain and jaundice. Adenoviruses spread from person to person, and most commonly cause respiratory illness. It presents as diarrhea, vomiting, and fever.

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

The illness is still quite rare, impacting roughly 200 children in Europe and the United States.

"It's a disease that we are just seeing," said Bhatt. "But let's not panic."

The Minnesota Department of Health says it is waiting additional laboratory testing.

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