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The CDC is investigating 180 reports of unexplained acute hepatitis among pediatric patients in 36 states and territories, including 5 deaths, over the past 7 months, the agency announced on May 18. Nine percent of the patients required liver transplants. About 340 additional cases have been reported worldwide, according to a May 11 statement from the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
During a May 6 press briefing to discuss the initial 109 reports, Jay Butler, MD, deputy director for infectious diseases at the CDC, said that 90% of the children with unexplained acute hepatitis in the US had been hospitalized, 14% had received liver transplants, and more than half had evidence of adenovirus infection. Typically, adenovirus infection causes vomiting and diarrhea, but it can progress to hepatitis in immunocompromised children.
“Adenovirus has been detected in some children, but we don’t know if it is the actual cause of the illnesses,” Butler said at the early May briefing, adding that the CDC is working with state and international public health authorities to identify the cause of the illnesses. In the UK, 18% of 136 children with acute hepatitis and SARS-CoV-2 test results available were positive for the novel coronavirus infection, and serologic testing for signs of previous infection were under way.
In late April, the CDC alerted US clinicians and the public to a cluster of 9 previously healthy children hospitalized in Alabama with acute hepatitis and adenovirus infection between October 2021 and February 2022. Most of the children were aged 2 years or younger and the oldest was aged 5 years, according a CDC report on the investigation. All the children in Alabama tested negative for hepatitis viruses and other known causes of pediatric hepatitis as well as SARS-CoV-2 infection, and none were vaccinated against COVID-19.
The CDC is advising clinicians to report potential cases of pediatric hepatitis with an unknown cause and consider testing the patients for adenovirus.
Créditos: Comité científico Covid