By Sandra Rose  | 

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Health officials are working overtime to understand why a rare outbreak of hepatitis is affecting children around the world.

Hepatitis is a viral infection that causes inflammation of the liver and sometimes liver failure.

One child is confirmed dead from liver failure, and hundreds more children are infected with a mysterious strain of hepatitis around the world.

190 cases of acute (sudden and severe) hepatitis have been reported so far in 12 countries, including the United States, where 11 cases have been reported.

Hepatitis is highly contagious and spreads mainly through contact with bodily fluids.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported the first mysterious case of hepatitis in a previously healthy child in England on April 15.

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More than 111 cases have been reported in England. Alarmingly, 17 children required liver transplants to save their lives, The Who reported.

Health officials in the UK believe the cases may be linked to a common adenovirus causing dozens of liver failure among children.

Adenovirus is a common virus found in the nose and throat of children that causes mild to moderate upper respiratory illness.

Doctors say the lack of exposure to common viruses due to the lockdowns weakened immune systems in minor children and made them more vulnerable to the common adenovirus.

Healthcare providers in the United States are asked to report any suspected hepatitis cases to local health departments.

Signs and Symptoms of Hepatitis:

  • fever
  • fatigue, lethargy (weakness)
  • diarrhea
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea and vomiting
  • abdominal pain
  • jaundice (yellow skin and eyes)
  • dark urine
  • grey-colored feces
  • dry, itchy skin
  • muscle pain

 
If you suspect your child may have a case of hepatitis, call your child's physician or go to the nearest emergency room.