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What We’re Reading: Pediatric Hepatitis Cluster; Biden Drug Control Strategy; Slip in Routine Childhood Vaccinations


The CDC alerted doctors to look for symptoms of pediatric hepatitis following a cluster of unexplained cases of severe liver inflammation; President Joe Biden has released a national drug control strategy to prioritize harm reduction and treatment; kindergarten students fell behind on routine vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CDC Alerts Doctors to Report Suspected Cases of Pediatric Hepatitis

The CDC issued a nationwide warning for doctors to look out for symptoms of pediatric hepatitis following a cluster of unexplained cases of severe liver inflammation in the United States and Europe. As reported by Reuters, 9 previously healthy children admitted to an Alabama children’s hospital between October 2021 and February 2022 had adenovirus type 41 infection. Five of these patients had significant liver injury, with 3 having acute liver failure. Additionally, UK health authorities reported a total of 108 cases of pediatric hepatitis, with some cases so severe that they required liver transplants. The CDC has directed doctors to report any suspected cases with unknown origin and to test for adenovirus in young patients displaying symptoms.

President Biden Releases Drug Control Strategy Focusing on Harm Reduction

Following a record high of 107,000 US drug overdose deaths in the past 12 months, President Joe Biden released a national drug control strategy to prioritize harm reduction, the Associated Press reported. This strategy will focus on engaging drug users in drug care and treatment and adjusting state laws and policies to prevent death and illness. Some other aspects of this strategy will include targeting the financial activity of illicit drug manufacturers, reducing the supply of illicit drugs coming into the United States, improving drug data systems, and ensuring at-risk populations can receive evidence-based treatments.

Slight Drop in Routine Childhood Vaccinations Among Kindergarten Students

According to CDC data, kindergarten students in the United States fell behind on routine pediatric vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic. As reported by The New York Times, approximately 94% of kindergarten students received the required vaccines during the 2020-2021 school year, a 1% drop compared with the previous school year. While this may appear to be a small decrease, it reflects 35,000 more children without documentation of complete vaccination against common diseases, raising concerns that life-threatening childhood illnesses such measles may become more prevalent at a point. Experts said this slip in regular vaccinations may be a result of skipped checkups due to COVID-19 restrictions and unease about COVID-19 vaccines being expanded to other vaccines.

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