the United Kingdom, which had 114. Nine cases were reported by the Alabama Department of Health last week.
Investigators are also aware of 13 cases in Spain, 12 in Israel, and smaller numbers in Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Romania.
The children are between the ages of 1 month and 16, CNN reports.
The liver processes nutrients, filters the blood and helps fight infection, and its function can be affected when it’s either inflamed or damaged.
The WHO said the investigation needs to focus on “increased susceptibility amongst young children following a lower level of circulation of adenovirus during the COVID-19 pandemic, the potential emergence of a novel adenovirus, as well as SARS-CoV-2 co-infection.”
Late week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a health advisory about the acute cases of hepatitis with unknown cause.
Protecting your child
Adenoviruses and hepatitis share symptoms, but hepatitis is far more concerning with unique symptoms to be aware of, Dr. David Hill, a Wayne County, North Carolina-based pediatrician and the official spokesperson of the American Academy of Pediatrics notes.
“Adenoviruses typically run their course without needing medical intervention,” he says. Hepatitis, on the other hand, “sometimes leads to hospitalization and may even require a liver transplant.”
The symptoms of hepatitis include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, light-colored stools, joint pain and jaundice.
Adenoviruses are spread from person-to-person and can cause a wide range of illnesses and symptoms. Those infected with the virus typically experience respiratory illness, but gastroenteritis, conjunctivitis (pink eye) and bladder infections can also occur.
Diarrhea and nausea can occur in patients with both hepatitis and adenoviruses, however, there are ways parents can differentiate between the two.
Parents should keep an eye on sick children and look out for severe abdominal pain, fever, dark-colored urine or light-colored stools. The most telling symptom to be aware of is jaundice, or a yellow coloring in the skin or in whites of the eyes, according to Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Mayo Clinic Children’s Center.
The CDC recommends providers consider adenovirus testing in children with hepatitis when the cause is unknown.
Testing the blood in whole, rather than just blood plasma, may be more sensitive, according to the CDC.