Minnesota has emerged as the latest state to report several severe cases of liver inflammation in children, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.
State health agencies in Georgia and New York have reported they were looking into “a handful” of childhood hepatitis cases, NBC News reported.
Nine cases were also reported in Alabama, two in North Carolina, one each in Delaware and Louisiana, three in Illinois, four in Wisconsin, six in Tennessee and at least two in Minnesota.
At least three young patients have required liver transplants, and one child in Wisconsin died.
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced a week ago that a dozen countries have reported 169 cases of acute hepatitis among children, 114 of them in the UK.
Patients ranged from 1 month to 16 years old, and more common forms of liver disease — hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C — were ruled out, the health organization said.
Commons symptoms of the disease include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, light-colored stools, joint pain and jaundice.
The illness is being called hepatitis of unknown origin. The cases have no known connection, although a link with adenovirus that can cause colds is being investigated.
In Minnesota, M Health Fairview reported two cases to the state Department of Health, which involve an infant and a 2-year-old. One of the patients was treated several months ago, which included a liver transplant, hospital officials said.
“Why this kid had such severe acute hepatitis is unknown,” said Dr. Heli Bhatt, M Health Fairview pediatric gastroenterologist and transplant hepatologist. “It was kind of fitting enough for me to let Minnesota Department of Health know and they are going to investigate the case further.”