US health authorities announced on Friday, May 6, that they were investigating 109 cases of unexplained hepatitis in children in the United States, five of which led to death.
These cases of severe liver inflammation have been detected in 25 states and US territories, and the affected children have a median age of just 2 years, said an official from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) during a a press conference. Outside the United States, more than 200 cases have been identified, particularly in Europe.
Vaccination against Covid-19 “is not the cause”
“Vaccination against Covid-19 is not the cause” of this disease, insisted Jay Butler, deputy director in charge of infectious diseases for the CDC, saying he wanted to put an end to the rumors circulating on the internet. Because of their young age, the children concerned were for the most part not eligible to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
He clarified that Covid-19 infection was not ruled out as a potential cause. The CDC, however, favors the trail of a certain type of adenovirus – viruses that are fairly common but which have not previously been known to cause cases of hepatitis in healthy children. More than half of affected children in the United States have been confirmed to have tested positive for adenovirus says “type 41”.
“Investigators here and around the world are working hard to determine the cause”assured Jay Butler.
The US cases have occurred over the past seven months, he said. If 90% of the children had to be hospitalized, in the majority of cases, they recovered afterwards. For 14% of them, a liver transplant was necessary. “We know that this news can be worrying, especially for parents of young children. It is important to remember that these severe forms of hepatitis are rare”wanted to reassure Mr. Butler.