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Pediatric Viral Hepatitis



Pediatric viral hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver caused by a virus. Hepatitis can be an acute (short-term) illness or a chronic (long-term) illness.


The three most common types of viral hepatitis in children are:


  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark urine
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Jaundice 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low fever
  • Nausea and/or vomiting

Some children with hepatitis, especially type A, may not have any symptoms, or the symptoms may be mild.

Tests and Diagnosis

There are several tests to diagnose viral hepatitis. A doctor will go over your child's medical history and perform a physical exam. Your healthcare provider may also perform one or more of the following tests:

Not every child needs all of these tests. Your physician will tell you exactly what the next steps are.


The type of hepatitis your child has determines the treatment. Your child's doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatments:

  • Hepatitis A usually resolves by itself and does not need treatment.
  • Acute hepatitis B may also resolve on its own without treatment, although some children may require monitoring in a hospital setting. For children with chronic hepatitis B, treatments may include:
    • Antiviral medications
    • Regular monitoring for signs of liver disease
    • Liver transplant
  • Treatments for hepatitis C may include antiviral drugs or peginterferon, a synthetic protein that helps the immune system fight infection or a liver transplant.

Children's Health is home to the internationally recognized Hepatology and Liver Transplantation Program. We produce research and conduct clinical studies into acute liver failure, viral hepatitis and chronic liver diseases. Our program also teams with the Solid Organ Transplant program for liver transplants.


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