BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Hepatitis of a mysterious cause is affecting children across the country and now, there’s a suspected case here in Western New York.
So far, Oishei Children’s Hospital in Buffalo says it has seen one suspected case of hepatitis from an unknown origin. This is as, the CDC works with health departments from across the country and investigates more than 100 cases of hepatitis in 25 states and territories, including New York State.
A spokesperson for Oishei Children’s Hospital said a one-year-old baby was admitted to the hospital last month with symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea and fever.
Doctors said the infant had a suspected case of hepatitis and spent three days in the hospital.
Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver, which can be caused by excessive alcohol use, certain medications and some medical conditions.
“This new form of Hepatitis is not caused by any of the usual suspects or viruses that we know can cause hepatitis,” said Dr. Thomas Russo, the infectious disease chief at UB’s Jacobs School of Medicine, “Fortunately this syndrome is very rare, the majority of children get better on their own.”
The CDC has issued a health alert about possible cases of hepatitis. The agency says it’s investigating more than 100 cases of hepatitis among children, including five deaths. Hepatitis outbreaks have been seen in Europe as well.
The CDC says last fall, nine children with hepatitis were identified in Alabama. Dr. Russo says after this outbreak, medical experts were able to rule out certain causes of why some kids are getting sick.
“One of the things at this point, we believe that it’s not due to is active COVID and probably not prior COVID as well, however, all possibilities are being examined very closely,” Russo said.
Parents are encouraged to be on the lookout for symptoms such as fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea and other signs of illness. Dr. Russo says you should never be shy about calling your doctor.
“They should just continue to be vigilant about their children’s health and if they are ill, it’s best to reach out to your healthcare provider to sort out whatever the cause may be,” Russo said.
On Thursday, News 4 expects to hear from Dr. Osama Almadhoun, the chief of gastroenterology and nutrition at Oishei Children’s Hospital, who treated the one-year-old baby with hepatitis. The CDC is expected to give an update on its investigation next week.
Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.