North Carolina reaches 9 cases of hepatitis reported in children ::

State health officials are warning parents to be aware of rare cases of hepatitis in their children. As of Wednesday, there are nine cases of children in the state — up from four cases last week.

Doctors stress that hepatitis, which is known to cause severe liver damage, is not usually common in children. Currently, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is studying more than 100 possible cases and five deaths.

Pediatrician Dr. Stephen Lichtman said: “It’s strange that we have this number of cases.”

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Medical experts have said that hepatitis is inflammation of the liver caused by viruses or excessive alcohol consumption. Lichtman says Adenovirus may be a possible link to a sudden rise.

“Adenovirus is a really common virus that causes the common cold or pink eye,” he said.

For an unknown reason, doctors urge parents to know what symptoms to look for before seeking help.

“You don’t need to worry unless you see that the urine looks dark and if the eyes start to turn yellow,” Lichman said.

Adam Omar, a parent in Rocky Mount, said he would watch out for the sudden rise in cases.

“We try to keep them safe from everything,” Omar said.

Experts say there does not appear to be a link between hepatitis and COVID-19