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Hepatitis Mystery Raising Alarms

A rising number of severe hepatitis cases among young children has raised alarms in the US and Europe, prompting warnings from major health organizations. CBS News reported this week that the Wisconsin Department of Health Services has issued a health alert as it investigates a handful of cases in the state, adding that there is speculation about the possible role of adenovirus in the illnesses.

Wired, meanwhile, said that Scottish health authorities have recorded 11 cases of severe hepatitis in children and that other cases have been noted across Europe including in Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Ireland, Romania, and Spain. The publication also reported that adenovirus has been detected in many of the sick children, although questions remain as adenovirus infections are typically mild. "Even if you find adenovirus in such relatively high numbers in these children, it's hard to say what's a causal association," Anders Koch, an infectious disease specialist at Statens Serum Institut, is quoted as saying.