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MADRID (AP) — Spain has reported its first two deaths in children from acute hepatitis or inflammation of the liver — a disease whose cause is unknown and is being monitored by world health officials.

Spain has reported 46 cases, three of which required liver transplants, the Spanish Ministry of Health said.

Of the three, two died – a 15-month-old in June and a 6-year-old in July.

As of July 28, 21 countries in Europe had reported 507 cases, of which 273 were in the UK, the ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

In the United States, at least 180 cases and 6 deaths have been reported.

Health officials remain baffled about the cause of hepatitis and say the best evidence available suggests that stomach problems are not known to cause liver problems in otherwise healthy children.

Spain said it was monitoring the situation closely after Britain alerted the World Health Organization following a surge in cases.

The ministry said so far it had not noticed an increase in the number of cases of this type of hepatitis compared to estimates based on data from previous years.





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