US probes five child deaths, 109 cases linked to mystery liver disease
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating 109 childhood cases of a mysterious form of hepatitis, including five reported deaths, the agency said on May 6.
It is part of an unexplained global phenomenon involving hundreds of cases, with Indonesia this week also reporting three deaths.
Britain on Friday announced its case count had increased to 163, the majority aged under five, with no deaths.
"Investigators both here... and around the globe are working hard to determine the cause," said Jay Butler, deputy director for infectious diseases for the CDC.
Health authorities think the cases might be linked to a wave of type of virus called adenovirus, but are trying to confirm the theory.
Ninety percent of the US cases have involved hospitalization, with 14 percent requiring liver transplants. The median age of the cases is two-years-old, and the majority fully recovered.
The CDC issued a health alert in late April notifying doctors and public health authorities to be on the lookout for similar cases, and began examining records extending back to October 1, 2021.
A study released last week focusing on nine cases in Alabama ruled out other common exposures, including hepatitis viruses A, B, and C, which are normally the cause of the disease.
The CDC does not think the cases are linked to Covid vaccination because the "vast majority" of cases are too young to be eligible, said Butler.
Jaundice and vomiting are the most common symptoms experienced by the children affected.
More than half the cases tested positive for adenovirus 41 -- a virus that is normally associated with gastroenteritis, but not hepatitis in otherwise healthy children.
"Because of the link to adenovirus, I would...
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