The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) remained stymied Friday as reports of a mysterious liver illness grow across the nation and around the world and, thus far, have tragically resulted in the deaths of at least five children.
At present, nearly half of the states in America have reported cases suspected to be linked to the unverified illness-causing liver disease in children. The Associated Press reported that across the nation there are now as many as 109 cases of hepatitis in young children and nearly potential cases spread out across 20 countries globally.
“We are casting a wide net to broaden our understanding,” Dr. Jay Butler from the CDC stated during a telebriefing on “Acute Hepatitis of Unknown Cause” on Friday. “Investigators both here and across the globe are hard at work to determine the cause.”
Mysterious and serious Hepatitis outbreak among kids has doctors concerned, but not panicked https://t.co/lJKnvwyQjS pic.twitter.com/5Bu3yeHXdS
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Previous reports from the CDC and World Health Organization had explained that doctors were specifically looking into a strain of adenovirus, chiefly Adenovirus type 41, as a potential culprit in this developing investigation. With more than 50 known viruses falling into that category, some responsible for the common cold, have thus far been unable to pinpoint the common factor among the numerous suspected cases.
While adenovirus was detected in half the patients, “we do not know if it is the cause,” Butler added. Symptoms of liver inflammation include fever, fatigue, nausea and abdominal pain among others. Pediatric infectious disease Dr. Gregory DeMuri with UW Health in Wisconsin said, “I don’t have a sense at the moment that this is going to result in a serious threat to public health.”
DeMuri also expressed, “I don’t think parents should be anxious,” a sentiment shared by Butler who reported, “It’s still a very rare occurrence. A majority of these cases have recovered and recovered fully.”
However, 94 percent of the children infected in the United States were hospitalized and eight reportedly received liver transplants. Again, there have been five deaths reported domestically. The ages of suspected cases range from one month old to 16-years-old.
Butler went on to add that of the nine Alabama children originally reported to have severe hepatitis dating back to November, none of them had received any version of the COVID-19 shots, “and we hope this information helps clarify some of the speculation circulating online.”
Unfortunately, Butler did not provide details on the vaccination statuses of the dozens of suspected cases across the nation. So, his remarks will likely do little to assuage the concerns of parents, especially in light of the most recent data release from Pfizer this week and the amended authorization to the Johnson & Johnson one-shot Janssen COVID-19 vaccine that the Food and Drug Administration issued.
According to AP, states reporting suspected cases now include: Alabama, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. Additionally, Puerto Rico has reported at least one case.
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