CDC investigating 109 childhood hepatitis cases, including 5 deaths

The deaths of five children and what may be an unusual cluster of more than 100 cases of hepatitis in young children in the United State...

The deaths of five children and what may be an unusual cluster of more than 100 cases of hepatitis in young children in the United States are being investigated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the report said on Friday. ‘agency.

The CDC said it was reviewing cases involving 109 children in 25 states and territories who had or had what the agency calls “hepatitis of unknown cause.”

Dr. Jay Butler, deputy director of infectious diseases at the CDC, said most of the children have made full recoveries. But more than 90% were hospitalized, 14% received liver transplants and more than half had adenovirus infections, he said.

The CDC and overseas experts are exploring if a type of adenovirus, a common virus that causes intestinal symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, may be a factor in these cases. But the agency has not determined a cause for the cases or a common link among all of them, and it has cautioned against the findings.

Dr Butler called it an “evolving situation” at a press conference on Friday. Later, he added, “It is important to remember that severe hepatitis in children is rare, even with the potential increase in cases we are reporting today.

Hepatitis and liver failure are unusual occurrences in young children, especially in otherwise healthy children, and so far the actual number of cases of hepatitis in the United States does not exceed the number usually observed.

The agency did not provide details of the children who died or where those deaths occurred.

The UK is investigating a much higher number – more than 160 cases – of young children who have or have recently had hepatitis.

Hepatitis, a liver infection, usually occurs in adults and can be caused by viruses – which respond to treatment with drugs – or by alcoholism, certain drugs or autoimmune diseases. Symptoms include yellowing of the skin and eyes, nausea and abdominal pain.

Dr Butler also said there was so far no evidence that a Covid-19 infection or the Covid vaccine was linked to the US cases. The World Health Organization also said this week that the “vast majority” of children had not been vaccinated in the cases it had reviewed.

The alarm began two weeks ago when the CDC issued an alert, citing nine cases of hepatitis in young children in Alabama that began last fall this year. All had signs of adenovirus infection. Their median age was 2 years.

The problem for the CDC is determining whether the adenovirus is a cause or an innocent bystander, Dr. Butler said. Doctors don’t normally test children for adenovirus infections — it’s not a reportable disease in the United States — making it difficult to disentangle cause and effect. He urged doctors to consider testing for adenovirus if children were sick with certain symptoms.

It is not known what the odds are that nine randomly tested children had adenovirus infections. The virus is also seasonal, and fall and winter, when Alabama children were sick, are adenovirus season.

To further complicate the situation, at the time the children were assessed, the amount of virus, if any, was very low.

“We are working hard to determine the cause,” Dr. Butler said. Because hepatitis in children remains “a rare event”, he said, research is difficult.

Other possibilities include environmental exposures, including animal exposures or an immune reaction, with a reaction to an adenovirus “leading the list”, Dr Butler said.

“We cast a wide net,” he said.

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Newsrust - US Top News: CDC investigating 109 childhood hepatitis cases, including 5 deaths
CDC investigating 109 childhood hepatitis cases, including 5 deaths
Newsrust - US Top News
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