Mexico reports first death of child from mysterious severe hepatitis

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican authorities confirmed on Friday the first death of a child from a severe form of hepatitis with unknown origin in the country, marking the first death in Latin America as cases spread worldwide.

The three-year-old child, originally from the central state of Hidalgo, was transferred to a hospital in Mexico City, but died this week, the Hidalgo Health Secretariat said.

Three other suspected cases of the disease are being studied in the same state.

Acute hepatitis is not usually seen in children, but in recent weeks doctors have observed an uptick in cases involving liver inflammation among otherwise healthy children under five years of age.

Six children have died globally.

The origin of the cases is still unknown, so it cannot be attributed to the most frequent variants of hepatitis (A, B, C, D or E) to an intoxication or an autoimmune effect.

Disease experts have not ruled out a link to prior COVID infection, but say the hepatitis cases are not caused by COVID vaccines.

(Reporting by Diego Ore; Writing by Carolina Pulice; Editing by Marguerita Choy)