Mysterious Hepatitis in Kids: What We Know and Don't Know Now
At least 228 probable cases of severe hepatitis in children have been reported across 20 countries worldwide, according to the World Health Organization on May 4. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating 109 cases of pediatric hepatitis of unknown cause, the public health agency announced May 6. As clinicians, epidemiologists, and other experts search for answers on what is causing serious liver inflammation in affected kids and how to prevent it, it might help to start with what can be ruled out. For one, researchers agree that hepatitis A, B, C, D, or E — viruses that more commonly cause acute hepatitis — are not to blame in these cases. Nor are these cases definitively linked to SARS-CoV-2 infection, at least not so far, and there also is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination is to blame.
@debraj Adenovirus is one possible suspect behind these new cases. In a technical report published May 6, the UK Health Security agency said that of 163 reported pediatric hepatitis cases in the United Kingdom, 126 were tested for adenovirus, and 72% tested positive. More than half of cases being investigated in the United States have also tested positive for adenovirus, the CDC said. In the nine Alabama cases, each child was previously healthy but had both severe hepatitis and adenovirus infection.