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US health officials have confirmed that another child has died in the country from the mysterious hepatitis outbreak, bringing the national tally to six.
The latest death was confirmed by the director of infectious diseases, Dr. Jay Butler, at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as cases of the disease continue to rise in the US.
According to the latest data, The US has recorded the most deaths of any nation in the world with another six recorded deaths in Indonesia, Ireland and Palestinerespectively.
Till the date, A total of 180 cases of hepatitis have also been detected in 35 states, requiring 15 liver transplants.
In Europe, cases have also been reported in the UK, Denmark, Spain and the Netherlands, as advisory councils issued warnings last month.
Experts from the respective health agencies are still not sure what is causing the increase in cases.
However, it is important to note that there is no link between the coronavirus vaccine and the increase in hepatitis cases.
Most of the children who have been tested for hepatitis were under the age of five and therefore had not received the vaccine.
Doctors have all but ruled out theories that suggest a mutation in the virus may be causing the illness, or that it could be due to exposure to domestic dogs.
The usual causes, hepatitis A, B, C, D and E viruses, have also been ruled out.
The hepatitis causes inflammation of the liver, causing diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.
Health authorities advise doctors across the country to take liver samples from the most severe cases of hepatitis.
Doctors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that stool, throat and blood samples should also be taken to detect adenoviruses.
Scientists have said the main cause of the outbreak is likely to be the adenovirus subtype 41.
Adenoviruses spread through close contact, experts said. They can also cause gastroenteritis and neurological diseases.
Philippa Easterbrook, from the WHO’s global hepatitis programme, said last week that there has been important progress with more research and some refinements of the working hypotheses.
“Currently, the leading hypotheses remain those involving adenovirus, with important consideration being given to the role of Covid, either as a co-infection or as a past infection,” he added.
Testing over the past week has revealed that about 70 percent of cases have tested positive for adenovirus.
The cases also continue to be in children under two years of age with infections scattered throughout the country.
The CDC says this particular virus can cause vomiting and diarrhea in children, even causing respiratory symptoms similar to the common cold. Scientists say outbreaks are more likely in highly populated states and cases are expected to continue appearing through the summer.