WebMD: Hepatitis Outbreak in Children, What to Know
By Amanda Loudin
The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified more than 20 severe cases in the United States, specifically in Alabama, Delaware, Illinois, New York, and North Carolina. In Wisconsin, one infant died of the disease. Of the worldwide cases, 17 have required a liver transplant.
While severe hepatitis with acute liver failure is rare in healthy children and the odds are greatly in your child’s favor should they get hepatitis, your best defense right now against the current, rare cases is information.
When children (or adults) come to the doctor with liver injury, hepatologists go to work to find the origin.
The liver specialists will test for infections, as well as genetic and autoimmune diseases, says Ryan Fischer, MD, chief of the Section of Hepatology & Transplantation at Children’s Mercy in Kansas City, MO. “We also ask about and send lab work to uncover potential toxins or medications that associate with liver injury. In some cases of severe hepatitis, we never find a cause.”
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