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Live(r) long and prosper

May 9, 2022 at 10:00 p.m.

When Maya Angelou wrote "Life loves the liver of it," and William James said, "Is life worth living? It all depends on the liver," they weren't referring to the organ that performs more than 500 vital functions designed to help regulate bodily chemicals. But they could have been, since the liver is so essential to overall health.

A startling report about children with liver disease clearly demonstrates that! The announcement, initially coming out of the U.S. and the U.K., identifies the unusual appearance of serious hepatitis (inflammation of the liver) in children. In the U.S., 12 states have reported a total of 32 cases, five requiring liver transplants, and one death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is searching for others nationwide. The World Health Organization says 228 cases have been reported in 20 countries.

The first U.S. cases affected kids in Alabama, from 1 to 6 years old. All had been infected earlier with adenovirus, which can cause cold-like symptoms, fever, sore throat, bronchitis, pneumonia, diarrhea and conjunctivitis. The theory is that young kids, sheltered from normal exposure to infections during the pandemic, have extra-vulnerable immune systems as they return to interaction with the outside world and that's why they develop this complication.

If you have a child who previously had symptoms of adenovirus infection, keep an eye out (even weeks later) for jaundice, stomach discomfort, diarrhea, sore joints and/or muscles, itchy hives, dark urine or clay-colored stools. Ask your doc to check your child for possible hepatitis pronto.

King Features Syndicate

Print Headline: Live(r) long and prosper

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