Posted BY: Jasmine S| NwoReport

America’s outbreak of mysterious hepatitis will continue ‘throughout the summer’ and many cases are already undiagnosed, a top virologist warned Friday — as the global death toll hit 12 with five fatalities in the United States.

Scientists are puzzled by the cause, but leading theories suggest a type of adenovirus spread by touching feces-contaminated surfaces is behind the illness.

Dr Matthew Binnicker, the director of clinical virologist at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, told cases will continue to crop up throughout the year as its transmission does not ‘tend to be seasonal’.

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He warned schools and day care centers — where many children mix — were major hubs for spreading the virus.

Dr Binnicker also warned many hepatitis cases among children remain undiagnosed in the U.S. because, in some cases, children will not have been unwell enough for their parents to take them to a doctor or hospital.

The majority of children with the mysterious hepatitis in the U.S. have tested positive for adenovirus, but it is not clear whether the virus itself is causing the illness or the infection alongside another factor such as a previous Covid diagnosis.

Adenoviruses are relatively common among children, but until this year were rarely associated with hepatitis. The common causes of the illness — hepatitis viruses A, B, C, D and E — have all been ruled out.

At least 12 children have now died from the mysterious hepatitis worldwide, with five fatalities also reported in Indonesia and one each in Ireland and Palestine.

More than 110 cases across 26 states have been registered so far, with 15 children becoming so severely ill they needed a liver transplant.

Globally, there have been 450 cases reported across 21 countries mostly among children under 10 years old. Most are in the UK (160), which first spotted the outbreak.