At least six U.S. states are reporting confirmed or suspected cases of an unexplained, severe liver disorder in children that’s been spotted in countries around the globe.
Delaware officials confirmed a case in a child, according to an emailed statement, adding to earlier reports from Alabama, North Carolina and Illinois. Health officials in New York state and Wisconsin said they’re investigating reports of pediatric hepatitis that match a description released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services said Wednesday afternoon that one of four cases under investigation resulted in a fatality. If confirmed, it would be the first death linked to the illness in the U.S.
More than 160 cases of severe pediatric hepatitis, or liver inflammation, in kids without existing health issues have been reported from about a dozen countries, including the U.K., Canada and Japan. The disorder has been seen mainly in children younger than 10 and has left a few needing liver transplants. Researchers are probing links to infection with adenoviruses, a family of pathogens that more commonly cause cold-like symptoms, as well as Covid-19.
Investigators are still gathering reports of the illness, and it’s too soon to say what’s causing the string of illnesses, Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview.