A sixth child has died in the United States from puzzling liver inflammation—aka hepatitis—and the number of unexplained cases has risen to 180 across 36 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In addition to the deaths, 15 of the 180 cases required liver transplants, Butler reported.
In today's briefing, Butler was cautious to note that while the latest total of 180 cases may seem like a concerning rise from the 109 cases CDC reported two weeks ago, most of the 71 newly reported cases were retrospectively identified and actually occurred weeks to months ago.
In fact, only 7 percent of the 180 cases occurred in the last two weeks, Butler said.
He was also careful to avoid saying that the cases were part of an outbreak, noting that the agency is not detecting an overall increase in the number of unexplained hepatitis cases it usually sees.
Butler added that about 30 percent to 50 percent of those pediatric hepatitis cases go unexplained each year.