Adenovirus infection, a common childhood virus, is the leading hypothesis behind the recent cases of severe hepatitis of unknown cause in children, which have resulted in at least six deaths, US health officials said Friday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said they are continuing to investigate whether 180 cases identified in 36 U.S. states and territories since last October represent an increase in the rate of pediatric hepatitis or a current pattern from improved detection was uncovered. .
The agency issued a national alert in April telling doctors to be on the lookout for children with hepatitis, which can damage the liver and lead to liver failure.
Jay Butler, the CDC’s associate director of infectious diseases, said in a conference call that about half of the children diagnosed in recent months were also infected with a type of adenovirus, a virus that causes the common cold, but the agency is still investigating the cause. exactly from the disease.
“There is mounting evidence that adenoviruses, particularly adenovirus41, play a role,” he said.
Butler said one theory is that measures to contain the pandemic may have limited exposure to the adenovirus, leading to infections, as social distancing and other efforts have been relaxed.
The CDC is also reviewing whether Covid infection, as well as other pathogens, medications, and risk factors could play a role.