State health officials are warning parents in Illinois after cases of severe hepatitis in children have been reported in the state, including one case that required a liver transplant.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) said Monday that it has learned of three suspected cases of severe hepatitis in children under 10 years of age.
Two of the cases are in suburban Chicago and one is in Western Illinois. One case resulted in a liver transplant.
The IDPH said they working to learn of other suspected cases in Illinois and are asking healthcare providers in the state to be on the lookout for symptoms and to report any suspected cases of hepatitis in children of unknown origin to local public health authorities.
The IDPH announcement follows a nationwide alert issued by the CDC in response to a cluster of nine cases of hepatitis of unknown origin in children in Alabama ranging in age from one to six years old, all of whom were previously healthy.
The CDC said that symptoms of hepatitis, or inflammation of the liver, include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, light-colored stools, joint pain and jaundice and can be caused by viruses.
These cases appear to have an association with adenovirus 41, the IDPH said.
Adenoviruses spread from person to person and most commonly cause respiratory illness, but depending on the type can also cause other illnesses such as gastroenteritis, conjunctivitis and cystitis.
Adenovirus type 41 typically presents as diarrhea, vomiting and fever, and is often accompanied by respiratory symptoms.
While there have been case reports of hepatitis in immunocompromised children with adenovirus infection, adenovirus type 41 is not known to be a cause of hepatitis in otherwise healthy children, according to IDPH.
The CDC said it is working with state health departments to see if there are additional U.S. cases and what may be causing them.
The CDC also said they believe adenovirus may be the cause for the reported cases but investigators are still learning more.
The CDC is encouraging parents and caregivers to be aware of the symptoms of hepatitis and to contact their healthcare provider with any concerns.