NEW YORK - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the number of unexplained cases of hepatitis in children is continuing to increase.
There are now 180 cases under investigation from the past 7 months. That is an increase of 71 reported cases since the 109 cases that were publicly reported on May 5. 36 states and territories have reported cases.
Health officials caution that many of the newly reported cases are not new and most of the newly reported cases involve patients that are just now being reported from the past seven months.
A CDC advisory says that there have been no reported deaths since February 2022, and the proportion of patients requiring liver transplants has gone down from 15 percent to 9 percent since May 5.
The CDC still does not have a possible cause for the cases. It says it is testing for and ruling out some viruses that can cause hepatitis. They say that Adenovirus has been detected in nearly half of the children and continues to be a strong lead. They are also checking for any possible link to COVID-19.
Officials note that severe hepatitis in children remains rare, but they encourage parents and caregivers to be aware of the symptoms of hepatitis – particularly jaundice, which is a yellowing of the skin or eyes – and to contact their child’s healthcare provider with any concern.
The CDC says it will begin posting regular online updates specific to the number of patients under investigation on a weekly basis.