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Nebraska health officials investigate hepatitis cases in children

Douglas County Health Department looking into 2 cases
The Douglas County Health Department is investigating at least two cases of pediatric hepatitis and there has been nine total in the state.
Published: May. 6, 2022 at 4:00 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The Nebraska Department of Health & Human Service and Douglas County Health confirmed hepatitis cases in children in the state Friday.

DCHD officials say they are investigating at least two cases that are possibly in relation to adenovirus.

DHHS is investigating a total of nine cases, including the two in Douglas County, and it’s reported the cases were identified between Nov. 2021 and March 2022. The cases are in relation to adenovirus as well.

“So far, we are not sure if these hepatitis cases came from an adenovirus infection or another source that is still to be identified. We are asking providers to let the Health Department know if they are treating a patient less than ten years old with a case of hepatitis from an unknown cause. We know that this may be concerning to parents, but this is still a rare illness.”

Douglas County Health Director Dr. Lindsay Huse

According to DHHS, here is the breakdown of the nine cases reported:

“Adenoviruses spread through respiratory droplets and through contact with contaminated surfaces. They traditionally cause common colds, diarrhea, and pink eye. It’s not yet clear if these cases of hepatitis are a result of adenovirus infection, a combination of infections, or a factor not yet identified. The unknowns surrounding these cases underscore the role of public health investigations. Clinicians should notify their local public health department if they’re treating a patient less than 10 years of age with hepatitis of unknown origin (AST or ALT >500U/L).”

Nebraska State Epidemiologist Dr. Matthew Donahue

DCHD officials described hepatitis as inflammation of the liver and prevention of adenovirus includes practices such as handwashing, covering your cough, staying home if sick, avoiding ill persons, and avoiding touching surfaces and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.

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