Doctors monitoring 2-year-old hepatitis patient in San Antonio as cases are studied worldwide

‘I don’t want anybody to wait’: SA mother wants to instill education about symptoms, not fear

What started as seemingly normal symptoms has turned into a case of hepatitis for a 2-year-old San Antonio girl.

SAN ANTONIO - – What started as seemingly normal symptoms has turned into a case of hepatitis for a 2-year-old San Antonio girl.

Doctors are taking a closer look at the case and comparing it to clusters of hepatitis being studied worldwide.

The girl’s mother said the symptoms were gradual.

“A random cough in the middle of the night. Then she kind of vomited. We thought it was triggered by the cough, followed up with some abdominal pain that we thought was related to constipation. Then dark urine, I thought I was giving less water, you know. Coming into week three, diarrhea. Then finally, the yellowing in the eyes, in the skin. And that’s what caused us to take her to the doctor,” the girl’s mother, Elizabeth, said.

Elizabeth said her family is extremely private, and doesn’t want to share her daughter’s name and face, but still felt compelled to share her story to help other parents stay proactive.

“I don’t want to instill fear,” she said.

The yellowing of the eyes and skin is called jaundice, which signals hepatitis. Once at University Hospital, that was the 2-year-old’s diagnosis.

“They ran a whole lot of tests, one of them being adenovirus,” Elizabeth said.

An adenovirus is a type of virus that can cause many things, ranging from common cold to hepatitis. It happens to be the virus doctors think may have caused many of the pediatric hepatitis cases breaking out worldwide.

Though a specific cause for the international clusters has not been confirmed, doctors worldwide are taking closer looks at cases like this one.

“It’s been hard. It’s been ups and downs,” Elizabeth said.

At a certain point, a liver transplant was brought up in conversation, but since then, the little girl’s state has continued to improve.

Between prayers, Elizabeth is encouraging other families.

“I don’t want anybody to wait three weeks like I did before I took my daughter, and thinking it was constipation, thinking all these other things,” she said.

Elizabeth said even if the symptoms don’t seem to fit together, call your doctor just to ease your mind, instead of going down what she calls the Google rabbit hole.

“I definitely think and I encourage anybody that goes through this to keep a positive mind and positive energy. It’s hard sometimes,” Elizabeth said.

Though with a supportive family and community, she said they’re making it through, taking it day by day.

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About the Authors:

Courtney Friedman is a KSAT anchor and reporter. She has an ongoing series called Loving in Fear, confronting Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She's also covered Hurricane Harvey, the shootings in Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe, and tornadoes throughout Texas. She’s a California native and proud Longhorn who loves calling SA home.

Sal Salazar is a photojournalist at KSAT 12. Before coming to KSAT in 1998, he worked at the Fox affiliate in San Antonio. Sal started off his career back in 1995 for the ABC Affiliate in Lubbock and has covered many high-profile news events since. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at home, gaming and loves traveling with his wife.