No reported cases of mysterious pediatric liver disease in Central California

MADERA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Valley Children's Hospital is keeping a close eye on patients, as cases of hepatitis are popping up in children from Europe to the United States.

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that can cause a number of symptoms.

"The most common ones are to have fever and stomach pain," explained Dr. Nael Mhaissen, medical director of infectious diseases. "Then, in the severe cases, it can also lead to jaundice, so that's when the color of the skin turns yellow. That can affect the eyes as well."

As of right now, no cases have been reported in the Central Valley, but doctors are on alert.

"The worry is that cluster may start spreading, especially if that relationship, that causative relationship between hepatitis and viral infection adenovirus, is proven," said Dr. Mhaissen.

Health officials are still unsure of the cause, but they're looking at a possible connection to the adenovirus.

According to Dr. Mhaissen, adenovirus is common amongst kids.

It can cause pink eye. However, for this specific virus strain, it can cause gut inflammation.

It's also easily transmissible.

"This is the kind of virus that can actually can be transmitted via touch-contact," Dr. Mhaissen explained. "Hand hygiene, again, it's very, very important, especially among young children."

Some symptoms to look out for include fever, stomach pain and a change in bowel movements.

"The poop will start becoming very, very light," said Mhaissen. "The color of the urine will start to become very, very dark."

A stool or blood test can help determine if a patient is infected.

Dr. Mhaissen said if your child is displaying mild symptoms, call their primary care physician. If it's severe, visit the emergency room.

Copyright © 2022 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.