Adenovirus leading hypothesis for severe childhood hepatitis, says CDC – National

Infection with adenovirus, a common childhood virus, is the leading hypothesis for recent cases of severe childhood hepatitis of unknown origin that have resulted in at least six deaths, U.S. health officials said Friday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it is continuing to investigate whether 180 cases identified since October last year in 36 states and territories represent an increase in pediatric hepatitis or whether an existing pattern has been revealed through improved detection.

The agency issued a nationwide warning in April for doctors to watch out for children with hepatitis, which can cause liver damage and lead to liver failure.

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348 probable cases of acute hepatitis in children reported worldwide: WHO

dr. Jay Butler, the CDC’s deputy director for infectious diseases, said on a conference call that about half of the children diagnosed in recent months were also infected with a type of adenovirus, a virus that causes the common cold, but the agency still does. investigate the exact cause of the disease.

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“Evidence is mounting that there is a role for adenovirus, specifically adenovirus-41,” he said.

Butler said one theory is that pandemic mitigation measures may have limited exposure to adenovirus, leading to a “catch-up” of infections as social distancing and other efforts were relaxed.

Hepatitis linked to this type of adenovirus has been associated almost exclusively with immunocompromised children, but many of the cases first reported to the CDC had no such conditions.

The CDC is also investigating whether COVID infection may play a role, as well as other pathogens, drugs, and risk factors.

Click to play video: '7 probable cases of severe acute hepatitis in children reported at Toronto's SickKids Hospital'

7 Probable Cases of Severe Acute Hepatitis in Children Reported at Toronto’s SickKids Hospital

7 Probable Cases of Severe Acute Hepatitis in Children Reported at Toronto’s SickKids Hospital – May 10, 2022

Compared with pre-pandemic figures, the agency said it has seen no overall increase in the incidence of severe hepatitis in children, which remains rare with about 1,500 to 2,000 cases identified in a typical year.

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CDC officials said they are continuing to work with counterparts in Europe, most notably the UK, which has identified at least 175 cases of acute hepatitis in children.

(Reporting by Deena Beasley; editing by Aurora Ellis)

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