Infectious Disease

Although acute hepatitis in children uncommon, parents should remain vigilant

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Disclosures:
Fagan reports consulting for and being a non-executive director for Perspectum Group.

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In this Healio video exclusive, Elizabeth Fagan, MD, an independent hepatologist and consultant in Texas, discusses global concerns about cases of acute, severe hepatitis in children and what caregivers should be aware of.

According to Fagan, there are now nearly 300 cases of severe hepatitis in children worldwide, as reported by the WHO and the CDC. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and general malaise, as well as progression to jaundice of the eyes and skin, dark urine and pale stools. Some children may experience respiratory problems.

“Although parents are alarmed, we have to put this in perspective: It’s still very uncommon,” Fagan said. “Illnesses like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and gastroenteritis in children are a common thing that every parent sees on a regular basis. But I think one should be vigilant to see whether any of these symptoms persist, especially if there is any suggestion of jaundice or yellowing. The liver has tremendous reserves, so for the liver to be that upset to cause jaundice typically means that there are some severe problems going on in the liver and that should be an alarm bell for parents.”

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