At least three Illinois children have been stricken with suspected severe cases of hepatitis in recent weeks, with one of those children requiring a liver transplant after contracting the illness.
According to a press release from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the cases of hepatitis, which all occurred in children under the age of 10, are potentially linked to a strain of adenovirus.
Two of the cases occurred in suburban Chicago, and one occurred in western Illinois, officials said.
The announcement comes after a nationwide alert was issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which came out after a cluster of nine hepatitis cases was reported in the state of Alabama.
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All nine children ranged in age from 1-to-6 years old, and all were previously healthy, according to officials.
The CDC is currently working with state health departments to determine whether there are other cases in the United States.
As a result of the cases, the CDC is encouraging physicians to consider adenovirus testing using PCR or NAAT respiratory samples, and to report any possible cases of hepatitis of unknown origin to the CDC and state health authorities.
The symptoms of hepatitis include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, light-colored stools, joint pain and jaundice.
Adenoviruses can cause a wide range of illnesses and symptoms, and are spread person-to-person. Most commonly those infected with the virus experience respiratory illness, but gastroenteritis, conjunctivitis (pink eye) and bladder infections can also occur.
Parents and caregivers are being asked to contact health care providers with any concerns, and to encourage their children to take everyday preventative actions including washing hands often, avoiding people who are sick, and covering coughs or sneezes.