State health officials warn parents to be on the lookout for rare cases of hepatitis in their children. As of Wednesday, there are nine pediatric cases in the state, up from four last week.
Doctors stress that hepatitis, which is known to cause serious liver damage, is not usually common in children. Currently, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reviewing more than 100 possible cases and five deaths.
“It’s very unusual for us to have this many cases,” said pediatrician Dr. Steven Lichtman.
Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver and is caused by viruses or excessive alcohol consumption, according to medical experts. Lichtman says that adenovirus may be a possible link to the sudden spike.
“Adenovirus is a very, very common virus that causes colds or conjunctivitis,” he said.
With an unknown cause, doctors urge parents to know what symptoms to look for before seeking help.
“You only have to worry if you see that the urine looks dark and if the eyes start to turn yellow,” Lichtman said.
Rocky Mount’s father, Adam Omar, said he will be keeping an eye out for the sudden increase in cases.
“We try to keep them safe from everything,” Omar said.
Experts say there does not appear to be a link between hepatitis and COVID-19