SDDOH investigating child for hepatitis

PIERRE, S.D. — The South Dakota Department of Health is investigating a Brown County child under the age of 10 with hepatitis of unknown origin.

South Dakota is among a growing list of states investigating children with hepatitis and adenovirus infection.

“We are asking medical providers to be on the lookout for hepatitis in children without a known cause,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Josh Clayton. “DOH is working with the CDC to identify the cause and to prevent additional illnesses from occurring.”

Hepatitis, or inflammation of the liver, has various symptoms that include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, light-colored stools, and jaundice, or yellow skin or eyes. The DOH says if your child is experiencing these symptoms, please talk to your medical provider.

A link between cases of hepatitis and adenovirus infection is suspected with adenovirus infections being common and occurring among persons of all ages. Symptoms may include cold-like symptoms, fever, sore throat, pneumonia, diarrhea, or pink eye.

Monument Health experts say to look out for the more advanced symptoms like the jaundice or yellow eyes, since Hepatitis can mimic a lot of other symptoms.

Dr. Cara Hamilton with Black Hills Pediatrics says that Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver and that parents needs to be aware of those severe symptoms that come along with the inflammation.

“A lot of times with that comes an elevated bilirubin, which is where (you’ll see) yellowing of the whites of the eyes and the yellowing of the features, the skin comes in and so again we’re more severe typically when those symptoms arise,” Dr. Hamilton said.

The DOH is encouraging everyday precautions to keep children safe, including washing hands often, avoiding people who are sick, covering coughs and sneezes, avoiding touching the eyes, nose, or mouth and staying up-to-date on routinely recommended vaccines.

Categories: South Dakota News