Mystery liver disease: CDC investigates 5 children’s deaths, 109 illnesses

WASHINGTON — Federal officials are investigating more than 100 cases of a mystery livery disease infecting children worldwide.

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On Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it was investigating 109 cases in 24 states and Puerto Rico, NBC News reported.

Last week, Wisconsin health officials issued an alert after seeing “at least four similar cases” that resulted in the first child’s death related to the mysterious disease in the United States.

Of the children who have gotten sick, 14% have needed transplants, and nearly all of the children have had to be hospitalized, CNN reported.

Globally, the World Health Organization said they had reports of almost 300 probable cases in 20 countries, The Associated Press reported.

The pediatric hepatitis illness was first seen in the United States in Alabama in November, but the list of states now reporting cases includes California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin and Puerto Rico, the AP reported.

The illness is mysterious because it causes severe hepatitis, or liver inflammation, in otherwise healthy children who have had no exposure to any known causes, NBC News reported.

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