Local doctors on hepatitis outbreak in young kids
PEORIA (WEEK) - More than 100 cases of hepatitis cases of unknown origin have been spotted across the world in young children, including three in Illinois.
Local doctors say the severity of the cases is a concern.
“I think the worry is because of the severity of several of the cases resulted in a liver transplant,” OSF Healthcare Pediatric Gastroenterologist Dr. Ian Kang said.
Dr. Kang sees and treats kids with hepatitis, or inflammation of the liver. It can be caused by a variety of viruses, including the hepatitis A, B, C and D viruses. But he says a more common cause of pediatric hepatitis is mononucleosis.
“Everyone with school-age kids is pretty aware of mono, and less common to see things like Hepatitis A, B, or C, especially now that we have Hepatitis B vaccination for a long time, that that’s exceptionally rare,” Dr. Kang said.
Doctors believe this outbreak is connected to adenovirus, although not yet confirmed. Adenovirus is common in kids but rarely causes liver inflammation.
“It’s a little bit surprising that we are seeing this major side effect from that virus,” OSF Healthcare Pediatrician Dr. Rebecca Sierra said.
Symptoms to watch out for include fatigue, prolonged fevers, jaundice, yellowing of the eyes or skin, swelling of the hands or feet. Dr. Kang adds the best prevention method is washing your hands, since this virus is spread by touch.
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