Colorado Doctors Warn Parents About Child Hepatitis As Cases Crop Up Across Nation

(CBS4) – Colorado has recorded four cases of childhood hepatitis, or liver disease, so far, and now the CDC has requested the nation start tracking where these cases are coming from as they currently do not know.

(credit: CBS)

Colorado is one of 25 other states that are also monitoring the cases. While there are five cases that have ended in death, Colorado doctors said this is no time to panic.

“They mystery is definitely concerning,” CMO St. Anthony’s Summit Medical Center’s Dr. Rebecca Blackwell said. “But it is very rare.”

There have only been 100 recorded cases in the U.S. so far.

Blackwell said the important thing for parents is to understand is the signs that might point towards the disease and to take a child to the doctor if they believe it’s serious.

“Hepatitis will cause some vague symptoms, things that you might see in your kids all the time,” Blackwell explained. “Especially as we unmask post-COVID. So — fever, fatigue, cold symptoms, decreased appetite, nausea, diarrhea.”

“As the hepatitis gets more severe, you can see things like dark colored urine — much darker than you would normally see with concentrated urine — stools or poop that is light in color or has no color, and also the skin can turn yellow or jaundice like what you might see in a newborn baby.”

While those symptoms are pretty vague, Blackwell does not want to unnerve parents who have a sick kiddo at home.

“As any parent knows, if you took your child to the doctor any time they had any sort of illness, a sniffle, a loose stool, a single episode of vomiting, you would probably spend more time than you want to in the doctor’s office,” Blackwell said. “I think using your parental judgement, kind of having that…’is my child seriously ill,?’ is a good way to decide if you need to take your child in.”

She explained obvious times to bring a child in include when a fever has lasted more than 72 hours or a kid who feels poorly and doesn’t want to get out of bed won’t even participate in any fun activities they’d normally love, like getting a treat. ”

Meanwhile, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Dr. Alexis Burakoff said the medical community is trying to garner more information about the situation nationwide.

“I would say we’re still very much in the early phases of trying to just wrap our minds as a scientific community around what’s happening and how concerned we need to be.”

She echoed Blackwell’s advice that this is not panic worthy, but a great time to continue using good hygiene principals for kids that they learned during the pandemic.