BOSTON -- Two cases of hepatitis in children in Massachusetts are under investigation by local boards of health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
It's part of a broader investigation of more than 100 cases of the rare pediatric illness across the country.
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that can be caused by viral infections, alcohol use, toxins, medications, and other medical conditions.
The CDC issued an advisory last month notifying health providers nationwide to be on the lookout for similar cases. More than half the children recently diagnosed had a common infection called adenovirus, which is not known to cause hepatitis in healthy children.
But scientists are looking for a possible link. The two children in Massachusetts tested negative for adenovirus. Doctors say the cause of all these cases is still not known.
"I think the severity of these cases of hepatitis is what's alarming as well. the CDC reported that over 90 percent of these cases that had been investigated required hospitalization and that about 14 percent of them went on to require liver transplantation which is an exceedingly rare outcome for any case of hepatitis," Dr. Kristin Moffitt, an expert in infectious diseases at Boston Children's Hospital, told WBZ-TV.
Dr. Moffitt said the cases do not appear to be connected to COVID infection or vaccination. Symptoms to look out for include fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and jaundice.
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