INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — It’s a strange outbreak that is targeting kids.
Acute hepatitis, characterized as inflammation in the liver, has affected 169 children ages 16 and younger. It’s been detected in several countries. Nine cases have been identified here in the United States to date.
Dr. Alex Cantafio, transplant surgeon at Ascension St. Vincent, tells News 8 acute hepatitis can be caused by alcohol use, certain medications and more.
But, why are children as young as 1 month old contracting the infection, needing transplants and even dying?
“What’s unusual about what’s going on now is the frequency with which it is causing liver injury and the severity of the liver injury that’s happening with the infection,” Cantafino said. “That’s what’s terribly unique and terrible about this. We see these types of viruses all the time, but usually it’s very short lived and mild.”
Essentially, we don’t have an answer just yet.
However, Cantafio wants parents to know the warning signs of acute hepatitis. He says they mostly start with pain in the stomach, nausea and vomiting. That’s when it’s time to seek medical treatment.