Healthcare

CDC now investigating 180 cases of unexplained hepatitis in children

A sign at the entrance to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is seen, Tuesday, April 19, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now looking into 180 cases of pediatric hepatitis that were reported over the past seven months, 71 more cases than what was being reported earlier this month.

In a statement, the CDC stressed that while this may appear to be a large increase in cases, most of them are “retrospective,” with the agency looking at patients as far back as October 2021. Not all the cases that have been detected are recent, and the agency noted that some may end up not even being related to the current investigation.

“Additionally, there have been no reported deaths since February 2022, and the proportion of patients requiring liver transplants has gone down from 15 percent to 9 percent since May 5,” the CDC said.

Since the beginning of the CDC’s investigation into the unexplained pediatric hepatitis cases, a possible link to adenovirus has been speculated due to the high rate in which it has been found in the affected patients.

In its update, the CDC said adenovirus has been found in almost half of the children with unexplained hepatitis and said it “continues to be a strong lead” as a potential cause.

Adenovirus infections do not normally manifest as hepatitis, with the typical symptoms being inflammation of the stomach or lungs. However, hepatitis resulting from an adenovirus infection is not unheard of, particularly in immunocompromised patients.

The agency added that childhood hepatitis continues to be a rare condition. However, parents should still be aware of the potential symptoms. These include vomiting, dark urine and light stools. One of the most notable symptoms of hepatitis is jaundice, which is a yellowing of the skin.

In people with darker skin tones, a yellowing in the whites of their eyes may be more noticeable than in their skin if they have jaundice.

Tags CDC CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hepatitis pediatric hepatitis pediatric hepatitus cases

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