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Increased cases of hepatitis in children

Southern 7 Health Dept. has seen an increase in children with hepatitis recently.
Published: May. 14, 2022 at 7:39 AM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Hepatitis cases in children are on the rise.

As health officials try and figure out what the cause is, they are asking parents to take precautionary measures.

Shawnna Rhine with the Southern 7 Health Department shared what’s she’s seeing with cases in Illinois and what parents should look out for.

“Right now we’re not seeing any cases in Southern Illinois that we’ve been notified. We are seeing a few cases throughout the state as a Friday there were only three in the state of Illinois. Two of those were up close to Chicago, and the third one was on the western part of the state,” Rhine said.

Hepatitis, normally leads to liver complications, but uncommon in children.

“Hepatitis leads to liver complications such as cirrhosis, liver cancer, so it can be a very deadly as well as dangerous disease for anyone who develops it. Well, hepatitis is a blood borne illness, it’s generally spread through contact with infected blood,” Rhine said.

She said its normally something seen in those with adenovirus, but not children.

Signs parents should keep an eye out for are often associated with other illnesses.

She said change of color in stool, urine and signs to keep an eye out for.

“Such as fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, you know, just general nausea, vomiting, those are all symptoms of a lot of different viruses,” Rhine said.

“Also, we want to make sure that they look for signs of jaundice such as yellow skin and yellowing of the eyes,” Rhine said.

She emphasized that parents should be tested especially if you are planning to become pregnant, or if you are pregnant, you do need to test for that.

There is also testing and other precautions for children.

“Make sure your child is up to date on their vaccines. That way they do contract this adenovirus, then this severity Won’t you get it won’t be as high,” Rhine said.

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