Health officials in Hawaii confirmed they are investigating a case of acute hepatitis in a child, coming after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated there are more than 100 cases among children across the United States.
It’s now the 25th state to report a case of at least one case of unexplained hepatitis among children in recent days. The state’s Department of Health said Monday that the child, who is under the age of 10, was hospitalized with abdominal pain and fever in Maui in late April.
The child “was hospitalized for several days with abdominal pain and fever at the end of April. An extensive medical investigation was performed … At this time, no cause has been determined,” the agency told local media. It’s not clear if the child is still hospitalized.
The health department is now working with the CDC to identify the cause of the hepatitis case.
In a teleconference last week, a CDC official, Dr. Jay Butler, said that 109 cases have been reported along with five deaths. A significant number of liver transplants have also been needed, Butler said.
Cases have been reported in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin, according to the CDC. At least one case has been reported in Puerto Rico, too, said Butler.
Researchers are probing whether the acute hepatitis cases are being caused by a type of adenovirus, but Butler stressed that it’s still not clear if there is any link. Butler, the CDC, and other health agencies have said there is no connection between COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines with the hepatitis cases. Most of the children who developed the condition have not received the vaccine.
The CDC on April 21 issued a U.S-wide health alert regarding a cluster of nine children identified with hepatitis of unknown origin in Alabama, all of whom were previously healthy. CDC said none of these children, ages 1 to 6, had COVID-19.
While hepatitis, or liver inflammation, can be caused by a myriad of issues, the most well-known causes are the viruses hepatitis A, B, and C—although the CDC and other medical agencies have ruled those out. Prolonged and heavy alcohol usage, drug overdoses, certain types of medication, and toxins can lead to hepatitis, according to officials.
Signs and symptoms of hepatitis include the yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes known as jaundice, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dark-colored urine, joint pain, a loss of appetite, fever, and fatigue.