Hepatitis found in small children in Todd, Lyon counties

Mysterious cases of hepatitis in children are being reported in five Kentucky counties, including two in the Pennyrile region.

The Department of Public Health confirmed six cases of the illness in the commonwealth yesterday between the ages of 8 months and 4 years old.  Officials say there is at least one case in Todd, Lyon, Meade, and Bourbon counties, while Jefferson County has two possible cases.

Kentucky Commissioner of Public Health Dr. Steven Stack says the cases are mysterious because common causes of viral hepatitis have been ruled out, but they may be related to viruses that cause the common cold.

The main symptom to look for in small children who become ill is yellowing of the eyes and skin, though there are other symptoms that are also common with other viruses.

The World Health Organization reports 650 similar cases worldwide between April 5th and May 26th.  Nine children have died and at least 38 have required liver transplants.