HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — National health officials reported that one child in Wisconsin has died from a mysterious outbreak of hepatitis in children. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials are now worried that this may be a part of an outbreak, but they have no idea where it could be coming from. 

Earlier this month, researchers in the United States and Europe announced that they were investigating a small cluster of cases of acute hepatitis in children that has emerged across the globe. The CDC immediately released an alert to doctors to be on the lookout for these unusual cases. 

“We’ve followed these unusual cases along with the children’s hospitals and when the case count started to go up a little, we put out a health alert in early February to our providers across the state to be on the lookout for cases of liver inflammation associated with diarrhea and vomiting type of symptoms,” Dr. Wes Stubblefield with the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) told News 19.  

Health officials have been on the lookout for anything these cases might have in common. Health experts from around the world have agreed that it has been hard to explain.  

Acute hepatitis is often caused by food contamination, but that has not been connected to these cases. There have been 20 total cases identified in the United States in six states: Delaware, New York, Illinois, North Carolina, Wisconsin and nine reported cases in Alabama.

Globally, there have been 170 cases identified according to the World Health Organization with many children under the age of 10. All of the children were otherwise previously healthy. 

“I think having awareness of signs of liver disease again, yellowing of the eyes, yellowing of the skin, are things that pediatricians should really pick up on and when they see these things to let us know so that we can evaluate them further,” said Dr. Henry Schiau of UAB Children’s Hospital.

The only link to all of these children so far is adenovirus 41 which is associated with a common cold. There is no evidence at this time that COVID-19 or COVID vaccinations are associated with the outbreak.