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CDC investigating severe hepatitis in children

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating 109 cases of severe hepatitis in children, including five deaths, to find out a cause, with adenovirus infection as a primary line of inquiry, the general public health agency said Friday.

Greater than 90% of the kids were hospitalized and 14% required liver transplants, in line with the CDC. The cases under investigation occurred over the past seven months across 25 states and territories. A majority of the patients have fully recovered and have been discharged from the hospital, in line with the CDC.

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that is commonly brought on by viral infections, but environmental aspects also can play a job. It isn’t unusual in children but normally is not severe.

Greater than half of the youngsters had a confirmed adenovirus infection. Nevertheless, CDC officials said they do not know yet if adenovirus is the actual cause. Adenovirus is a typical virus that normally causes mild cold or flu-like symptoms, or stomach and intestinal problems. It isn’t a known explanation for severe hepatitis in otherwise healthy children, though it has been linked to the illness in kids with weak immune systems.

“We also do not know yet what role other aspects may play, reminiscent of environmental exposures, medications, or other infections that the kids might need,” Dr. Jay Butler, deputy director for infectious diseases on the CDC, told reporters on a call Friday.

Covid-19 vaccination isn’t the explanation for the illnesses, Butler said. The kids had a median age of two years, which implies most of them weren’t eligible to receive the vaccine. The CDC continues to be investigating whether there’s any association with the Covid-19 virus, Butler said. Nevertheless, the initial nine cases in Alabama of youngsters with severe hepatitis didn’t have Covid.

The hepatitis viruses A, B, C, D and E haven’t been present in the youngsters during initial investigations, in line with the CDC.

The U.S. has not seen an uptick in adenovirus infections based on the information available, Butler said. Nevertheless, Dr. Umesh Parashar, a CDC official, said the U.S. doesn’t have a superb national system for conducting surveillance of the virus. Butler said the CDC is working to enhance its surveillance.

The CDC has also not documented a big increase in hepatitis cases in kids or liver transplants, but that is based on preliminary data and will change, in line with Butler. Nevertheless, the UK — which first alerted the world to the difficulty — has documented a big increase, he said.

“We all know this update could also be of concern, especially to folks and guardians of young children. It is vital to do not forget that severe hepatitis in children is rare,” Butler said. Parents should take the usual precautions for stopping viral infections, including hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, not touching the eyes, nose or mouth, and avoiding people who find themselves sick, he said.

The symptoms of hepatitis include vomiting, dark urine, light coloured stool, and yellowing of the skin. Parents should contact their health provider with any concerns, Butler said.

The CDC issued a nationwide health alert in late April a few cluster of severe hepatitis cases amongst nine children in Alabama. The World Health Organization can also be closely monitoring the situation and has identified cases of severe hepatitis with unknown cause amongst children in at the very least 11 countries.

The CDC is investigating cases in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, Latest York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.

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