"When they've looked for kind of the typical viruses that we think of that cause hepatitis in children, they haven't found those usual viruses. But what many of these children have tested positive for is a virus called adenovirus and a specific type of adenovirus called adenovirus 41," says Dr. Rajapakse.
"Adenoviruses are a large group of viruses — there's about 50 different types that we know of — and they can typically cause certain illnesses, for example, pinkeye, vomiting and diarrhea. So stomach flu-type illness, or respiratory illness with runny nose and cough. These circulate pretty commonly among children," says Dr. Rajapakse.
Adenoviruses have been reported as a cause of hepatitis in some patients who are immunocompromised, but the children being reported in these recent clusters have mostly been otherwise healthy.
Is there a COVID-19 connection?
"We think this is unlikely to be related to COVID-19. But it is one of the things that we need to really look at and study to make sure that we've explored all of the possible relationships," says Dr. Rajapakse.
"Another question that has come up is whether this could be related to getting vaccinated for COVID-19. As we don't have a vaccine that is approved for use in kids under 5 years of age, many of the children who have been reported with this have not been vaccinated. So there's no evidence to suggest this could be related to a vaccine."
(Information in this post was accurate at the time of its posting. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientific understanding, along with guidelines and recommendations, may have changed since the original publication date.)©2022 Mayo Clinic News Network. Visit newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.