228 unusual hepatitis cases identified worldwide: 4 updates

At least 228 probable cases of severe hepatitis in children have been reported in 20 countries, the World Health Organization said May 4. Another 50 cases are under investigation. 

Five updates:

1. Six countries, including the U.S., are reporting more than five cases. Many of the remaining countries are reporting one or two cases, according to Dr. Philippa Easterbrook, a senior scientist in the global hepatitis program, HIV department, at the World Health Organization. 

2. The WHO also confirmed one death and at least 18 liver transplants among affected children.

3. The U.S. has reported confirmed or probable hepatitis cases in at least 10 states, according to Medscape. They are Alabama, Minnesota, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

4. Adenovirus has emerged as a possible cause of the illnesses, though investigations are ongoing. 

"We are looking at all possible infectious and noninfectious causes," Dr. Easterbrook said, adding there is still "no link to one geographic area or common exposure to particular foods or animals, travel or to toxins."

5. A majority of affected children had not received the COVID-19 vaccine, ruling that out as a potential cause, Dr. Easterbrook said. 

Learn more here.

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