CDC investigates severe hepatitis in children

The Public Health Agency said Friday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating 109 cases of severe hepatitis in children, including five deaths, to try to identify the cause of the adenovirus infection as the main focus of the investigation.

According to the CDC, more than 90% of the children were hospitalized, and 14% required a liver transplant. The cases under investigation have occurred over the past seven months in 25 states and territories. Most patients have made a full recovery and have been discharged from hospitals, according to the CDC.

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that is often caused by viral infections, but environmental factors can also play a role. It is not uncommon in children, but is usually not severe.

More than half of the children were confirmed adenovirus infection. However, CDC officials said they do not yet know if adenovirus is the actual cause. Adenovirus is a common virus that usually causes mild cold or flu symptoms, as well as stomach and intestinal problems. It is an unknown cause of severe hepatitis in otherwise healthy children, although it has been linked to the disease in children with weak immune systems.

“We also don’t yet know what role other factors may play, such as environmental exposure, drugs, or other infections that children may have,” Dr. Jay Butler, associate director of infectious diseases at the CDC, told reporters by phone. Friday.

According to Butler, the Covid-19 vaccination does not cause disease. The average age of the children was two years old, which means that most of them were not eligible for the vaccine. The CDC is still investigating whether there is any link to the Covid-19 virus, Butler said. However, the first nine cases in Alabama in children with severe hepatitis did not have Covid.

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

There has been no spike in adenovirus infections in the U.S. based on available data, Butler said. However, Dr. Umesh Parashar, spokesman for the CDC, said the US does not have a good national surveillance system for the virus. Butler said the CDC is working to improve surveillance.

The CDC has also not recorded a significant increase in childhood hepatitis cases or liver transplant cases, but Butler said this is based on preliminary data and is subject to change. However, the UK, which first alerted the world to the problem, recorded a significant increase, he said.

“We know this update can be a source of concern, especially for parents and caregivers of young children. It’s important to remember that severe hepatitis is rare in children,” Butler said.

In late April, the CDC issued a nationwide health alert for a group of cases of severe hepatitis among nine children in Alabama. The World Health Organization is also monitoring the situation closely and has identified cases of severe hepatitis with an unknown cause among children in at 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, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto. Rico, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.

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