The only thing scarier than having a sick child is not knowing how they were exposed to the illness. That’s what one Maine family is dealing with after their child was confirmed to have hepatitis. While the child is recovering after being hospitalized for severe liver illness, health officials with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention have been unable to determine how the child was infected. This case is similar to instances in other states where children have mysteriously contracted hepatitis and has health officials concerned.
Now the Maine CDC is cautioning other parents to watch for signs of hepatitis in their own children. Common symptoms of hepatitis include:
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach pain
- Dark-colored urine
- Light-colored stools
- Joint pain
- Yellowing of the skin (jaundice)
Dr. Nirav Shah, Director of the Maine CDC says hepatitis with unknown causes is rare in children.
We encourage parents to call their children’s medical providers if their children experience these symptoms.
The Maine CDC has advised healthcare providers to monitor for hepatitis in children under the age of 10 with these symptoms and severe liver inflammation.
There are three typical strains of Hepatitis in the United States:
Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter through contact with items that have been contaminated by someone infected with the virus.
Hepatitis B is typically spread through sexual activity with an infected person, through the sharing of needles, accidental needle sticks, or it can be passed from a mother to her baby during childbirth.
Hepatitis C is spread through blood contact, typically through the use of shared needles or paraphernalia used to inject drugs.
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