Hepatitis cases of unknown origin seen in South Texas, pediatric GI doctor says

Photo of Child with Backpack Holding Mom's Hand

Contact: Will Sansom, (210) 567-2579, sansom@uthscsa.edu

SAN ANTONIO (April 28, 2022) — Clinicians in the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology at UT Health San Antonio have seen cases of a mysterious and serious liver disease in otherwise healthy children, Naveen Mittal, MD, professor and division chief, said today. One young patient is in a San Antonio hospital, Dr. Mittal said, declining to name the hospital for family privacy.

Photo of Dr. Naveen Mittal, UT Health San Antonio
Naveen Mittal, MD

On April 21, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a nationwide alert to providers about hepatitis cases of unknown origin. The alert said a cluster of children were identified with hepatitis and adenovirus infection, and CDC “asked all physicians to be on the lookout for symptoms and to report any suspected cases of hepatitis of unknown origin to their local and state health departments.”

The pediatric gastroenterology team, which consists of academic clinicians appointed in the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine, sees outpatients at the new UT Health Pediatrics Wurzbach Gateway Clinic. Faculty reported several cases to the CDC in previous months, Dr. Mittal said.

“We are staying in touch with CDC regarding why a cold in an otherwise healthy child could lead to serious liver disease, possibly needing a transplant,” Dr. Mittal said. “We have one of three centers in Texas for pediatric liver transplants.”

Inflammation of the liver can lead to fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and other symptoms. Parents are urged to monitor these symptoms closely and seek a physician’s care for their child if such discomfort is observed.

Dr. Mittal is available today (April 28) from 1 to 2 p.m. for Zoom interviews.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio) is a primary driver for San Antonio’s $42.4 billion health care and biosciences sector, the city’s largest economic generator. Driving substantial economic impact with its five professional schools, a diverse workforce of 7,200, an annual operating budget of more than $1 billion and a clinical practice that provides more than 2 million patient visits each year, UT Health San Antonio plans to add more than 1,500 higher-wage jobs over the next five years to serve San Antonio, Bexar County and South Texas. UT Health San Antonio is the largest research university in South Texas with an annual research portfolio of approximately $350 million.

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