Mayo Clinic experts offer update on sudden uptick of hepatitis in children

(ABC 6 News) — Health leaders are tracking a sudden uptick in unusual hepatitis cases among children.

According to the World Health Organization, just under 300 cases have been reported in 20 countries including a few clusters in the United States. Mayo Clinic says the situation is very rare, but it is also monitoring the situation very closely.

Hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver and doctors say the usual virus that causes hepatitis, have not been identified in these pediatric cases. Instead, Mayo researchers say the common adenovirus, which is linked to common illnesses like the stomach flu and pink eye, may be the potential cause of this outbreak.

As doctors work to find a cause, they say many children who got sick were healthy prior to the infection. The majority of the 300 worldwide cases are children under the age of 5.
Given the timing of these clusters, researchers also addressed concerns that COVID-19 vaccines may be connected.

"A vast majority of the patients reported by the World Health Organization and many patients that we have reports on here in the Unites States, were under five years of age, so they were not eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations and have not received the vaccinations, so we think that one is highly unlikely," Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a Pediatric Infectious Disease expert with Mayo Clinic said.

Doctors say common symptoms from hepatitis that you should look for in your own children include jaundice, which is yellow skin or eyes, dark tea colored urine and pale stool.

If you have concerns, contact your healthcare provider immediately.