Doctors urge parents to check children for signs of liver disease

Signs of hepatitis include jaundice – yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes – dark colored urine, flu-like symptoms and loss of appetite.

HOUSTON — An epidemic of childhood hepatitis in the United States has doctors searching for answers.

According to the CDC, a 6th child has died from a recent outbreak of liver disease in children in the United States. They said around 180 children had been affected by the disease.

Cases have been reported in 36 states, including Texas,

Dr. Luis Ostrosky, an infectious disease physician with UT Physicians, said in almost all reported cases, patients tested positive for adenovirus.

“It’s one of the most common viruses we have,” Dr Ostrosky said. “It’s a virus that causes gastrointestinal illness and upper respiratory tract symptoms, and it circulates year-round.”

He said doctors were looking into another possible connection. Many hepatitis patients have also tested positive for COVID-19.

Hepatitis refers to inflammation of the liver. It can be caused by several different viruses, but the most common are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.

Hepatitis A is found in the blood of an infected person and is highly contagious.

It can be spread through close contact with an infected person or by eating contaminated food or drink.

Hepatitis B is a blood-borne disease that is spread through sexual contact, sharing medication syringes, or from a mother to a baby during childbirth.

There are vaccines that protect against hepatitis A and B.

Hepatitis C is also caused by a virus that is transmitted through contact with the blood of an infected person.

It is curable with prescribed treatment, but there is no vaccine for hepatitis C.

“The most pressing thing about hepatitis C is that it’s an oncogenic virus, which means it can cause cancer,” Ostrosky said.

Signs of hepatitis include jaundice – yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes – dark colored urine, flu-like symptoms and loss of appetite.

Since it can only be diagnosed through testing, Dr. Ostrosky advises parents and caregivers to be aware of symptoms, especially jaundice.

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