CDC Is Investigating 109 Unusual Hepatitis Cases in Children, Including 5 Deaths

Five U.S. children have died of an unexplained type of hepatitis that has sickened more than 100 kids across 25 states and territories, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Most of the children have fully recovered, but nearly all of them were hospitalized and 14 kids needed liver transplants, Jay Butler, MD, deputy director for infectious diseases at the CDC, said in a May 6 statement. More than half of these children tested positive for adenovirus infections, Dr. Butler said.

“What we don’t know yet — but investigators both here and across the globe are hard at work to determine — [what] is the cause,” Butler said. “Adenovirus has been detected in some of the children, but we do not know if it is the cause of these illnesses.”

Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver, which is a vital organ that processes nutrients, filters the blood, and fights infections. When the liver is inflamed or damaged, its function can be affected. Most often, hepatitis is caused by a virus.

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