A cluster of hepatitis cases in Alabama prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue an alert on Thursday.
The CDC said a children’s hospital in Alabama reported five children tested positive for adenovirus and had severe liver damage. Three of the children had acute liver failure.
While two of the patients needed transplants, none of them died.
A review of cases over the winter found a total of nine cases of adenovirus type 41 were discovered at the Alabama children’s hospital.
The alert is a call to action for practitioners to report possible cases to the CDC.
“This Health Advisory serves to notify US clinicians who may encounter pediatric patients with hepatitis of unknown etiology to consider adenovirus testing and to elicit reporting of such cases to state public health authorities and to CDC,” the CDC said.
The alert comes after health officials in the U.K. reported 74 cases of hepatitis in the last month. Health authorities in the two countries are investigating a possible link.
According to the CDC, adenovirus type 41 commonly causes pediatric acute gastroenteritis, which typically presents as diarrhea, vomiting, and fever; it can often be accompanied by respiratory symptoms.