Five children in Alabama mysteriously fell ill last fall with hepatitis, an inflammatory liver disease rarely seen in children. It’s usually caused by excessive alcohol consumption or one of three hepatitis viruses, none of which the children had. In the following months, doctors in Alabama reported four more pediatric hepatitis cases. Some required liver transplants.
The cases drew national media coverage. Some scientists suggested they might be an augury of a new epidemic or an overlooked symptom of long Covid. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in April advised physicians to be on the lookout for more cases. Hundreds have since been identified, some dating to last fall.