With five deaths and more than 100 reported cases in the United States, Hawaii has become the 25th state to begin investigating the mysterious hepatitis case in a child under the age of ten.
The state Department of Health said the boy was hospitalized in late April with diarrhea and fever in Maui, his second-largest island.
It is unknown whether the unnamed boy is still in hospital or recovering.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) determined the highest death toll in the United States, with three deaths in Indonesia, the world’s largest country.
A total of 15 American children also need a liver transplant due to the disease.
More than 300 cases have been reported worldwide, most in the UK (160) and the United States (109), but this may be due to improved oversight in the country.
Researchers are puzzled as to what is causing the epidemic, but advanced theory suggests that it may be due to the adenovirus – the cause of the common cold – which has been positively evaluated in most cases in the United States.
Other hypotheses under investigation include a weakened immune system in children or a previous Covid infection, or even exposure to a pet dog. The usual causes – hepatitis A, B, C, D and E – have all been ruled out.
The map above shows 25 states where hepatitis cases have been confirmed or suspected according to the CDC. Today, Hawaii became the 25th state to investigate a suspected (yellow) case of the disease, with Puerto Rico reporting at least one more case.
Opening the case Monday night, the Hawaii Department of Health said: “Extensive medical research has been conducted and a number of laboratory tests have shown excellent results.
“The cause is still unknown. DOH works with the CDC to determine the cause of hepatitis.
Q&A: What is the enigmatic global hepatitis and what is behind it?
What is hepatitis?
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, usually caused by a viral infection or liver damage from alcohol consumption.
Some cases resolve on their own, there are no problems, but some may be fatal, and these patients need a liver transplant to survive.
What are the symptoms?
People with hepatitis often experience fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, light stools, and joint pain.
They can also suffer from jaundice – yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes.
Why are experts worried?
Hepatitis is more common in children, but experts have found that the current epidemic is more frequent than expected a year later.
According to the World Health Organization, the origin of the disease is unknown and serious. It caused two deaths and 18 liver transplants.
What are the higher theories?
Experts say these cases may be related to the common cold-related adenovirus, but further research is ongoing.
This can be combined with Covid infection and lead to an increase in cases.
The WHO says at least 74 cases of adenovirus have been detected. At least 20 children have been diagnosed with the coronavirus.
British experts, who are tasked with investigating many diseases, believe that the endless cycle of blockades may have played a role.
Restrictions can weaken children’s immunity and increase their risk of contracting adenovirus due to reduced social interaction.
This means that even “normal” adenovirus can have serious consequences, because children do not respond to it as before.
Other scientists say the adenovirus may have “special mutations.”
This means it can be contagious or can improve children’s natural immunity.
New Covid option
UKHSA staff included a “new version of SARS-CoV-2” in the working hypotheses.
Covid rarely caused inflammation of the liver during a pandemic, but they were present in people of all ages, not children.
The CDC noted that triggers are still being studied as possible causes of environmental diseases.
These may include contamination or exposure to certain drugs or toxins.
Cases of mysterious hepatitis have now been identified in 25 states, including Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, and North Dakota. , New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.
At least one more case has been reported in Puerto Rico.
The CDC declined to say where the five U.S. deaths took place, citing “confidentiality issues.”
But at least one was in Wisconsin, where the Department of Health confirmed last month that it was investigating deaths due to the disease.
At a press conference last week, Dr. Jay Butler, the CDC’s deputy director for infectious diseases, said most young people were “completely cured” after the illness.
He said scientists are still studying cases to determine the cause, but adenoviruses are “at the top of the list.”
However, Butler added that it is unknown whether the adenovirus infection is the sole cause of the disease or whether it is associated with an immune response to a particular strain or something that children are exposed to.
However, he noted that the CDC does not register a significantly higher number of cases of hepatitis in children than at this time of year.
“I think we’re seriously thinking about whether this could be something that has been at a low level for years, and we haven’t documented it,” he said.
Last week, the World Health Organization said it was investigating 50 possible causes of the disease.
Hepatitis is common in children, but earlier this year the UK sounded the alarm in January over a mysterious outbreak of hepatitis in children, after noticing more cases than expected.
Other countries followed suit, with the United States reporting the first nine cases in Alabama last month. Each of these children needs hospital care.
CDC officials acknowledged that they were aware of the incident, but did not issue a warning at first because it appeared to be a separate incident.
Since then, they have issued health warnings from countries with mysterious hepatitis.
Top experts fear that health workers will not be able to get to the bottom of what is behind the epidemic for at least another two months.
Parents are told that their children’s risk of developing hepatitis is “very low”, despite the high incidence of such cases.
They are advised to watch for major warning signs, but their children are at very low risk of getting hepatitis.
Jaundice – jaundice of the skin and whites of the eyes – the most common symptom, followed by vomiting and white stools.
Dr. Mira Chand, Director of Emerging Infections at the UK Health Safety Agency, said: “It is important for parents to know that their children are less likely to get hepatitis.
“However, we warn everyone to be careful of the symptoms of hepatitis, especially jaundice, white eyes and yellow, and if you are worried, consult a doctor.
“Our research shows that there is an association with adenovirus, and our research is now strongly testing this association.
“We are also investigating other contributors, including those prior to SARS-COV-2, and are working closely with the NHS and academic partners to understand the mechanism of liver injury in affected children.”
Most cases have been identified in the UK (163) and the US (109), which have the most powerful surveillance systems.
Inflammation of the liver has also been reported in Spain (22), Israel (12), Italy (9) and Denmark (6).