CDC investigates severe hepatitis in children

The headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia.

Tami Chappell | Reuters

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating 109 cases of severe hepatitis, including five deaths, the public health agency said on Friday.

According to the CDC, 90% of children are hospitalized and 14% need a liver transplant. More than half of the children had evidence of adenovirus infection. However, public health officials say they still don’t know if adenovirus is the actual cause.

Cases under investigation have been found across 25 states and territories and occurred in the past seven months. CDC officials said they have not yet recorded a significant increase in cases of hepatitis or liver transplants, but that is based on preliminary data and is subject to change. However, the UK – the country that first alerted the world to the problem – has recorded a significant increase, officials said.

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