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Deadly Hepatitis spread among kids in US, 90% hospitalized, 14% required liver transplants

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating 109 cases of severe hepatitis in children, including five deaths, finding the cause, and adenovirus infection as the first line of inquiry, the public health agency said Friday.

More than 90% of children are hospitalized and 14% need a liver transplant, according to the CDC. The cases under investigation took place seven months ago in 25 counties and counties. Most patients have fully recovered and are out of the hospital, according to the CDC.

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that is usually caused by a bacterial infection, but natural factors can also play a role. It is rare in children but usually not difficult.

More than half of the children had a confirmed adenovirus infection. However, CDC officials said they did not yet know that adenovirus was the real cause. Adenovirus is a common virus that often causes minor colds or flu-like symptoms, or stomach and intestinal problems. It is not a well-known cause of severe hepatitis in healthy children, although it has been linked to the illness of children with weakened immune systems.

“We do not yet know the role that other factors may play, such as environmental exposure, medication, or other diseases that children may have,” Dr. Jay Butler, deputy director of communicable diseases at CDC, told reporters at the time. call Friday.

The Covid-19 vaccine is not the cause of the disease, Butler said. The children were two years old, which meant that most of them did not qualify for the vaccine. The CDC is still investigating whether there is a link to the Covid-19 virus, Butler said. However, the first nine Alabama cases in children with severe hepatitis did not contain Covid.

Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E viruses have not been detected in children during the initial investigation, according to the CDC.

The US has never seen an increase in adenovirus infections based on available data, Butler said. However, Drs. Mesh Parashar, a CDC official, said the US did not have a comprehensive national plan to monitor the virus. Butler said the CDC is working to improve its oversight.

The CDC also did not record a significant increase in cases of hepatitis in children or in liver transplants, but that is based on preliminary data and may change, according to Butler. However, the United Kingdom – which first informed the world about the incident – reported significant increases, he said.

“We know that this review can be frustrating, especially for parents and guardians of young children. It is important to remember that severe hepatitis in children is rare, ”said Butler. Parents should take general measures to prevent infections, including hand washing, coughing and sneezing, touching the eyes, nose or mouth, and avoiding sick people, he said.

Symptoms of hepatitis include vomiting, black urine, light stool, and yellowing of the skin. Parents should contact their healthcare provider with any concerns they may have, Butler said.

The CDC issued a national health warning in late April regarding a series of serious cases of hepatitis among nine children in Alabama. The World Health Organization has also monitored the status of the disease and identified cases of unknown hepatitis in at least 11 countries.

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

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