CDC: U.S. Cases of Acute Hepatitis in Children Keep Rising

However, there have been no reported deaths since February, agency says

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THURSDAY, May 19, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- The number of American children affected by acute hepatitis of unknown cause continues to grow, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday.

So far, the agency's investigation has identified 180 pediatric cases in 36 states and territories during the past seven months. That is an increase of 71 from the last time numbers were released on May 5. However, the CDC stressed in a statement that many of the new domestic cases are "retrospective" -- meaning they were cases that are now being counted but that happened as far back as October 2021.

There have been no reported deaths since February, the agency added, and the number of children requiring liver transplants is 9 percent of cases, after the additionally discovered cases were added to the count. The CDC previously reported that 15 percent of children had required liver transplants, based on its May 5 calculations.

There also are hundreds of other pediatric hepatitis cases that have been reported in countries around the world, according to the World Health Organization. About half of the children involved in the U.S. cases have had some form of adenovirus. This continues to be a strong indicator of what could be driving these cases, the CDC said.

Meanwhile, the agency is communicating with key medical groups and providing reporting and laboratory guidance for doctors who may find hepatitis of unknown cause in their patients. As part of this communication effort, the CDC is hosting a Community Outreach and Clinician Activity call on Thursday to provide updates and provide an opportunity for clinicians to ask questions.

Additional investigation updates will be provided weekly.

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