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Childhood Hepatitis of Unknown Origin: CDC Issues Emergency Parent Alert in US

Parents are being asked to monitor their children for hepatitis symptoms as an unexplained outbreak continues in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an alert to educate parents about the symptoms. What do they need to know about this? Yahoo!.

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“The possibility of severe liver disease in children can cause anxiety among parents. If you have questions about your child's health, please call your primary care physician," the CDC wrote, noting that adults should be aware of symptoms associated with hepatitis.

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. According to the CDC, it can be caused by alcohol consumption, as well as toxins, certain medications, certain diseases, and often a virus.

Hepatitis outbreak in children is global

In April, researchers in the US and Europe announced they were investigating cases of hepatitis in children occurring around the world.

As of early May, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported more than 340 probable hepatitis cases in children in 20 countries.

According to the CDC, US has at least 109 confirmed cases with five deaths in over 20 states and Puerto Rico.

The cause of the outbreak remains unknown

According to the CDC, the cause of reported hepatitis in children remains unknown.

“We do not know and are studying what role other factors play in this, such as exposure to toxins or other infections that children may have,” the department wrote.

On the subject: Children in the US and Europe are suffering from hepatitis of unknown origin: WHO is alarmed

Some children who had hepatitis also had adenovirus 41, a type of virus that can cause serious stomach illness, according to the CDC.

According to the CDC, adenoviruses are different types of viruses that can cause a variety of illnesses, from the common cold to acute bronchitis, pneumonia, conjunctivitis, and acute gastroenteritis, or inflammation of the stomach.

Hepatitis vaccine does not protect against this outbreak

Hepatitis viruses are the most common cause of illness in the world, including hepatitis A, B and C, but they were excluded during this outbreak.

According to Dr. Jennifer Ashton, chief medical correspondent for ABC News, the strain of hepatitis found in this outbreak does not respond to the hepatitis vaccine given to children.

“These cases are not vaccine-amenable, so it’s really puzzling for the public health community at this point,” Ashton said.

Hepatitis outbreak not related to COVID-19

Ashton said health officials do not believe the current outbreak in children is related to the coronavirus or the COVID-19 vaccine.

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“This morning I spoke with the director of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle Walensky,” Ashton said. “She wanted me to point out that most of these cases are in babies between the ages of 2 and 5. These children, as we know, did not receive the COVID-19 vaccine due to their age, so this has nothing to do with the vaccine.”

When symptoms appear, parents should call their pediatrician

The CDC advised parents to monitor their children for symptoms, including fever and fatigue, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, joint pain, jaundice (yellowing of the white part of the eyes or skin), and discoloration of urine or stool.

If any of these symptoms are present, parents should contact their pediatrician immediately, according to the CDC.

The agency urges parents, among other things, to ensure that their child is vaccinated and follows safety protocols such as washing hands frequently, avoiding sick people, avoiding coughs and sneezes, and avoiding touching the eyes, nose, and mouth.

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