five children died of unexplained hepatitis, health authorities are investigating

Health authorities announced this Friday, May 6, 2022 to investigate 109 cases of unexplained hepatitis in children in the United States, including five deaths.

These cases of severe liver inflammation have been detected in 25 and US territories, and the affected children have a median age of just 2 years, said an official from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) during a press conference.

Read also: What is known about named cases of hepatitis of unknown origin in children in several countries

The virus hypothesis

Outside the United States, more than 200 cases have been recalled, including in Europe, another official said. Because of their young age, the children concerned were for the most part not likely to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Faced with the rumors circulating, Jay Butler, deputy director in charge of infectious diseases for the CDC, insisted: “vaccination against Covid-19 is not the cause” of this disease. He clarified that Covid-19 infection was not ruled out as a potential cause.

The CDC, however, favors the trail of a certain type of adenovirus – viruses that are fairly common but which have not previously been known to cause cases of hepatitis in healthy children. More than half of affected children in the United States have been confirmed to have tested positive for adenovirus says “type 41”hitherto best known for causing gastroenteritis.

This adenovirus has also been detected in many affected children outside the United States.

One of the hypotheses is that the reaction to this adenovirus can be disturbed by another factor, such as infection with Covid-19 or environmental factors, for example contact with animals or a toxin.

hepatitis of unknown origin.

109 cases in seven months

“Investigators here and around the world have been working hard to determine the cause”, assured Jay Butler. The US cases have occurred over the past seven months, he said. And 14% of affected children had to receive a liver transplant.

Parents are encouraged to monitor any symptoms in their children (vomiting, dark urine, pale stools, jaundice, etc.), and to contact their doctor if they have concerns.

Two weeks ago, the CDC issued a health alert for doctors to notify authorities of any suspected cases.

“We know that this news can be worrying, especially for parents of young children. It is important to remember that these severe forms of hepatitis are rare”, a wanted to reassure Jay Butler. He said that the number of pediatric emergency room visits for hepatitis was not currently abnormally high in the United States, unlike the United Kingdom. If 90% of the children had to be hospitalized, in the majority of cases, they recovered afterwards.

United States: five children died of unexplained hepatitis, health authorities are investigating

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