SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Like state health departments all over the country, South Dakota is working with the CDC to identify a serious illness impacting children. It leads to hepatitis and in some cases liver failure. The South Dakota Health Department is looking at a child under the age of ten in Brown County with hepatitis.

South Dakota’s Health Department is working with the CDC to identify the cause of hepatitis.

The inflammation in the liver can be caused by infection, autoimmune disorders, or medication.
In recent cases first discovered in the UK, Doctors suspect that hepatitis is linked to kids infected with the adenovirus.

“We are trying to see if this is just a blip or if this is something that is real and causing a rise at an alarming rate,” said Dr. Sara Hassan

Initially, the illness may include cold-like symptoms, fever, sore throat, pneumonia, diarrhea, or nausea. The Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Sara Hassan says when it starts attacking the liver there are signs parents can watch for.

“One of the most common things that we notice is yellowing around the eyes, or what we call sclerotic, also yellowing of the skin or what we call jaundice and that’s really important that’s kind of the telltale sign that we are having liver disease, among the other thing that is really important to pay attention to is the color of the urine if the urine is starting to look like it is the same color as tea then this is alarming,” said Dr. Hassan.

The fact that it is spreading in clusters caught the attention of the World Health Organization and CDC, which issued an alert to pediatricians.

“Part of the CDC had sent out the alert to try and identify if there are more cases, so it’s very possible that more cases will start being identified going forward and that’s a really important part of the investigation,” said Dr. Nipunie S. Rajapakse

The CDC will use the information to look for common traits in the illnesses in an effort to find out what is causing it. There are only about 200 cases worldwide. It is still unknown if the case in Brown County is related to the other unexplained cases of hepatitis in kids.