CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is investigating two cases of pediatric hepatitis in the state.
Last week, the CDC said it was investigating more than 100 cases of severe, unexplained hepatitis in children. The agency has asked public health officials to notify the CDC if they have similar cases of children under the age of 10 with no apparent explanation for their hepatitis.
The majority of the cases have been linked to an adenovirus, common virus that can cause flu-like symptoms or stomach problems. The two Massachusetts cases have tested negative for that infection.
22News spoke to one local resident who expressed concern for children and their safety measures to prevent future infection.
“I think that’s awful,” said Amanda Knowles of Northampton. “There’s nothing they can do to stop it, [they] are too young to know what they are putting in their body and what’s around them. That’s just really awful.”
Health experts say be on the look out for symptoms:
- Severe abdominal pain
- Dark-colored urine
- Light colored-stool
“For parents, what I think you want to be aware of is that it may start like a typical virus,” says Dr. John O’Reilly, Pediatrics Specialist at Baystate Health. “The child may have a little fever, a little fatigue, a little nausea, a little vomiting. But it becomes a little more prolonged.”
Dr. O’Reilly says the best line of defense for parents and their kids is to wash their hands often and thoroughly to mitigate the spread of the virus. He adds if your child is showing any of these symptoms to contact your pediatrician immediately.
Nearly two dozen states reported suspected cases of hepatitis to the CDC.