CLEVELAND — Another virus is taking center stage across the world: Hepatitis.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report 109 cases in 25 states and territories nationwide are under investigation.
Health officials nationally and locally are anchoring down and zoning in on the severe child liver disease.
“Whenever we think we know a lot about infectious disease there always been to be something else new on the surface,” says Dr. Claudia Hoyen, Pediatric Infectious Disease Expert and Director of Pediatric Infection Control at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospitals.
All of the cases reported are children under 10, according to the CDC. Five of the children have died of the infection, while eight needed liver transplants.
“[There are no cases] that I’ve heard of as of today in Northeast Ohio,” Dr. Hoyen said. She encouraged Northeast Ohioans not to hold their breath about the reality of the virus landing closer to home.
At least six cases of the cases are at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. Some of the children are as young as 18-months-old.
“Is this too close for comfort?" 3News’ Marisa Saenz asked Dr. Hoyen.
“Well, they're investigating it in 26 states already,” she responded. “I would assume that at some point this spring we may see some adenovirus here in Cleveland as well.”
The United States is no anomaly. The World Health Organization reported worldwide cases stretch as far as 450 in 20 countries.
“This strain is a specific number, it's adenovirus 41,” Dr. Hoyen explained. “It’s a little bit unusual for this type of very severe hepatitis in children who are otherwise healthy.”
Hoyen said with a type 41 infection, it's common to develop vomiting or diarrhea.
If your child begins to develop pale stool, possible dark urine or yellowing of the skin and eyes, give your doctor a call.
The evidence has shown the children who've contracted hepatitis didn't have COVID-19 or were too young to receive a vaccine, according to Hoyen.