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North Carolina up to 9 reported cases of hepatitis in children :: WRAL.com

State health officials are warning parents to be on the lookout for rare cases of hepatitis in their children. As of Wednesday, there are nine pediatric cases in the state — up from four last week.

Doctors stress that hepatitis, which is known to cause severe liver damage, isn’t usually common in children. Currently, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is looking at more than 100 possible cases and five deaths.

“It’s very odd for us to have these number of cases,” said pediatrician Dr. Steven Lichtman.

UNC School of Goverment : Spotlight : Child Wellbeing

Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver and is caused by viruses or heavy alcohol use, according to medical experts. Lichtman says adenovirus may be a potential link to the sudden spike.

“Adenovirus is a really, really common virus that causes colds or pink eye,” he said.

With an unknown cause, doctors are urging parents to know what symptoms to look for before seeking help.

“You only have to worry if you see that the urine looks dark and if the eyes are starting to turn yellow,” said Lichtman.

Rocky Mount parent Adam Omar said he’s going to watch out for the sudden uptick in cases.

“We try to keep them safe from everything,” said Omar.

Experts say there doesn’t appear to be a link between hepatitis and COVID-19

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