Hepatitis and adenovirus in children

Pediatric gastroenterologist in San Antonio are evaluating a mysterious illness: A hepatitis virus is infecting some children as young as 1 year old.

Symptoms of Hepatitis

Hepatitis is a virus that affects the liver.  The type of hepatitis that has been affecting children results in symptoms including:

  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark urine
  • Diarrhea
  • Joint pain
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)

A Local Case of Adenovirus

In May, a 2-year-old girl was admitted to University Hospital after her parents noticed a series of symptoms similar to those listed above. Pediatricians diagnosed the child with adenovirus and hepatitis. She has since been discharged.

“We don’t want to cause fear or panic. We have shared our daughter’s story to educate parents about the symptoms so they do not wait to seek medical attention,” the child’s mother said.

CDC Alerts Doctors of Mysterious Hepatitis Outbreak

On April 21, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a nationwide health alert regarding adenovirus infection in children. Since October 2021, children have been admitted to hospitals around the nation for severe liver problems. Doctors ruled out hepatitis A, B and C in these cases.

Preventing Adenovirus and Hepatitis

Dr. Naveen Mittal, a pediatric gastroenterologist at University Health, told the Texas Standard that some children have come to the hospital needing liver transplants. But Dr. Mittal says the adenovirus is very rare and can be prevented by washing your hands regularly, drinking clean water and washing food before eating.

“The best advice I can offer is to be aware of the symptoms and seek medical care from a trusted source, such as your family’s pediatrician,” the child’s mother said.

Pediatric Liver Care at University Children’s Health

If your child needs liver care, the specialists at University Health are ready to help. University Children’s Health is one of only three pediatric liver transplant centers in Texas. We are the only program to offer pediatric living donor transplants in South Texas.

Our pediatric liver specialists can treat common and complex liver conditions with nonsurgical options, when possible. Call 210-358-4567 for more information.

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