WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWLP)– The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting 36 states and U.S. territories have reported an increase in children being diagnosed with hepatitis of unknown cause.

Health officials say there are 180 pediatric patients under investigation over the past 7 months, up from 109 publicly reported on May 5.  There have been no reported deaths since February 2022, and the number of patients requiring liver transplants has decreased from 15 percent to 9 percent since May 5. Severe hepatitis in children is considered rare.

The CDC says that the spike in numbers doesn’t necessarily mean new cases, as many of the new numbers involve patients that are just now being reported and may not be linked to the current investigation.

Many possible causes are under consideration including testing for and ruling out some of the viruses that commonly cause hepatitis (hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E): adenovirus (found in nearly half of the cases), SARS-CoV-2, and other virus genome and other potential pathogens.

Parents, guardians and caregivers are urged to become familiar with hepatitis symptoms: fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and dark urine. The most common and telling symptom is jaundice, which is yellowing of the skin and whites of eyes. Make an appointment with your doctor if your child has these persistent symptoms.