FDA warns not to drink company’s bottled water after several people report liver damage

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – The FDA has recommended no one drink Real Water’s alkaline water while the agency investigates several cases of hepatitis among children in the Las Vegas area.

The Food and Drug Administration became involved when it was alerted to five cases of acute non-viral hepatitis resulting in acute liver failure in infants and young children that occurred in November 2020 in the Southern Nevada Health District. All five patients were hospitalized but have since recovered.

Additional people in the patients’ households were reported to have experienced less severe symptoms including fever, vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite and fatigue, according to the FDA.

The consumption of “Real Water” brand alkaline water is the only common link identified between all of these cases to date, the FDA reports. The FDA regulates bottled water under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

Frank Yiannas, Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response for the FDA, said in a statement, “We are advising consumers, restaurants and retailers to not consume, cook with, sell or serve “Real Water” alkaline water until more information is known about the cause of the illnesses. We are working to determine how the alkaline water may be related to the illnesses. Although the investigation is ongoing, CDC’s analysis of epidemiologic information indicates that this alkaline water product may be the cause of the illnesses. We will provide additional updates as more information becomes available.”

Symptoms of all types of hepatitis, including non-viral hepatitis, are similar and can include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay or gray-colored bowel movements, joint pain, yellow eyes and jaundice, according to the FDA. Those experiencing these symptoms should contact their doctor.

Emely and Christopher Brian Wren, the parents of Christopher Noah Wren, filed a lawsuit against Real Water claiming that in 2020, they and their 2-year-old son got sick after drinking the water.

In Aug. 2020, Christopher Brian Wren was hospitalized. ALT, which stands for alanine transaminase, is an enzyme found mostly in the liver that is released into the bloodstream when the organ is damaged.

According to court documents, the normal value for ALT in blood ranges from 29 to 33 units per liter for males and 19 to 25 for females. However, Christopher Brian Wren’s ALT was measured at over 5,000 and he was informed that he was a candidate for an immediate liver transplant, the report said.

In Nov. 2020, 2-year-old Christopher was transported on an emergency jet from Summerlin Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, to get emergency treatment for liver malfunction. He was hospitalized for days, court documents said. Summerlin Children’s Hospital personnel reported that other Clark County children had similar ailments and were all being sent to Salt Lake. Christopher Noah Wren’s ALT was measured at over 5,000, which makes him a candidate for a liver transplant as well, the lawsuit claims.

During the same time period, the lawsuit also states Emely Wren suffered from fatigue and extreme nausea.

The Wrens said they were interviewed by the Southern Nevada Health District and the Center for Disease Control about their illness, court documents say.

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