CDC warns of mysterious hepatitis outbreak across U.S.

On Friday, the CDC put out a call to doctors to be on the lookout for even more cases of a mysterious form of hepatitis or inflammation of the liver.

The CDC is investigating 109 cases of unexplained hepatitis in children across twenty-four states in the U.S., including New York.  

Although the cases are extremely rare, doctors say parents need to keep a close eye on their children.

"That's highly unusual. That is not something we see. Children do get acute hepatitis, but not to this severity," says Dr. David Bernstein, the Chief of Hepatology at Northwell Health.

Dr. Bernstein says the average age of children with this rare form of hepatitis is 2 years old. The CDC says the cases may be linked to a worldwide outbreak.

More than 90 percent of children who’ve had this rare hepatitis needed to be hospitalized. 14 percent of children needed transplants, and 5 children have died. 

Earlier in the year the CDC alerted doctors about a cluster of pediatric case in Alabama. Doctors are now working together to determine the cause. 

"It seems like but it’s not definitive that there is an association with a virus called adenovirus. It’s very common. It often causes the common cold and gastro-intestinal illness," says Dr. Suraj Saggar, an Infectious Disease Specialist at Holy Name Medical Center.

Dr. Bernstein said the kind of symptoms parents should look out for in their children include their eyes or skin turning yellow or their skin turns yellow. If this happens, parents should take their children right to the doctor. 

"And doctors need to be aware that this could be severe. And we usually don’t draw blood in children, but here you really need to keep a handle on this," says Dr. Bernstein. 

Doctors don’t believe there is a correlation between this rare form of hepatitis and COVID-19.