Two Utah Children Identified as part of Worldwide Pediatric Hepatitis Investigation

Salt Lake City—The Utah Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has identified two Utah children younger than age 10 who were treated for hepatitis with no known cause, similar to what has been seen in other states. Hepatitis is a form of liver inflammation which can lead to severe illness. While both children were hospitalized with serious liver illness, they have since recovered. 

“There are many causes of hepatitis, but evaluation of these children did not find a clear source. While rare, children do get hepatitis and we don’t always know the cause,” said Leisha Nolen, state epidemiologist at DHHS. “We are working with local healthcare providers, public health departments, and CDC to understand if these children became sick because of the same factors causing increased hepatitis in children across many parts of the world. We encourage providers to report any suspect cases to public health for further investigation.” 

Similar cases have been identified throughout the U.S. and several countries. The cause is still unclear; however, data suggest it may be related to an infection with adenovirus type 41, a virus that usually causes mild colds or stomach illnesses in children. Utah’s cases were identified by physicians and reported to public health. No further information about the cases will be provided to protect patient confidentiality. 

“We understand parents may be concerned. Call your child’s healthcare provider if you’re worried about their health or symptoms they may be having,” said Nolen. Common symptoms of liver inflammation include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, dark colored urine, light-colored stools (poop), joint pain, and yellowing of the skin (jaundice). Simple actions to protect your child and those around you include washing hands often, covering coughs and sneezes, staying home when sick, and keeping up-to-date on all vaccinations. 

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Charla Haley

Public Information Officer