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North Dakota becomes the latest state to investigate mystery liver disease in a child

Hepatitis outbreak among children grows in U.S.
Hepatitis outbreak among children grows in U.S. 00:21

North Dakota has become the latest in a growing number of states that is investigating a mysterious case of hepatitis in a child where all the usual causes have been ruled out. The child from Grand Forks County is recovering at home after a brief stay in the hospital, North Dakota Health Department officials said Thursday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been looking into cases of the sudden liver disease in children that has health authorities around the world looking for clues. The illness is being called hepatitis of unknown origin.

The cases have no known connection, although a link with a virus that can cause colds is being investigated. Several cases have been reported in Minnesota.

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.

"We are encouraging medical providers to review their records back to October 2021 for any patients that warrant further investigation," said Kirby Kruger, medical services section chief in North Dakota.

Kruger said the state is "working with the CDC to help identify cases that will aid in understanding the cause of hepatitis in children and to understand how we can prevent these illnesses from happening in the future."

A link between cases of hepatitis and adenovirus infection has been suggested and the CDC is asking physicians to consider adenovirus testing. Adenovirus infections are common and occur among persons of all ages.

Last month, the CDC issued an alert after a cluster of hepatitis and adenovirus cases were detected in children between the ages of 1 and 6.

Symptoms may include cold-like symptoms, fever, sore throat, pneumonia, diarrhea, or pink eye.

Last week, three children in Indonesia died from the disease.  This severe strain of acute hepatitis has been identified in nearly 200 children across 11 countries in recent weeks — raising concerns from the World Health Organization (WHO) of the disease's "unknown origin."

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