The CDC investigates a mysterious liver disease suspected in the deaths of children

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WE Health officials are looking into more than 100 possible cases of a mysterious and severe liver pathology in children, including five deaths.

About two dozen States reported suspected cases after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention appealed for doctors to search for surprising cases of hepatitis. Cases date back to late October in children under 10. Only nine cases have been confirmed in Alabama so far.

This photo illustration shows a disposable syringe with hypodermic needle, hepatitis B written on a white board behind. (Photo Illustration by Frank Bienewald / LightRocket via Getty Images)

This photo illustration shows a disposable syringe with hypodermic needle, hepatitis B written on a white board behind. (Photo Illustration by Frank Bienewald / LightRocket via Getty Images)
(Frank Bienewald / LightRocket via Getty Images)

“We are launching a broad network to broaden our understanding,” said Dr. Jay Butler said Friday.

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Butler explained that although the CDC is “casting a huge net” in its investigation, not all cases may be linked to the same cause.

“Investigators both here and around the world are working hard to determine the cause,” Butler continued.

What is causing the diseases is unclear. Adenovirus has been detected in half of the children, “but we don’t know if it’s the cause,” she said.

There are dozens of adenoviruses, many of which are associated with cold-like symptoms, fever, sore throat, and red eyes. But some versions can trigger other problems, including inflammation in the stomach and intestines. Officials are exploring a link to a particular version that is normally associated with intestinal inflammation.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a press conference that infections in 25 states could be linked to a global epidemic of the disease that has killed more children. This week, there were 300 probable cases in 20 countries, according to the World Health Organization.

In the United States, 94% of children were hospitalized and received eight liver transplants.

“It’s still a very rare event,” Butler said. “Most of these cases have recovered and fully recovered.”

The father comforts a child with a fever.

The father comforts a child with a fever.
(iStock)

In April, the CDC issued a health warning in response to the cluster one cases of hepatitis in Alabama involving nine children.

The mystery dates back to November, when Alabama health officials began examining the first of nine cases of severe hepatitis in children in that state. None tested positive for the viruses that commonly cause hepatitis. However, the test came back positive for adenovirus.

Woman checking the throat of her sick daughters
(iStock)

Butler said none of the Alabama children were vaccinated against COVID-19. This has been ruled out as a possible cause, “and we hope this information will help clear up some speculation circulating online.”

Symptoms of hepatitis include liver inflammation, fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, pale stools, joint pain, and jaundice.

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In addition to Alabama, states that report suspected cases: California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania , Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin. Puerto Rico has also reported at least one case.

The Associated Press contributed to this report