HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Medical experts are warning parents and caregivers to be aware of the symptoms of liver disease after nine children in Alabama were hospitalized with hepatitis.  

Doctors say that mild cases of gastrointestinal symptoms in children under the age of 13 can lead to severe hepatitis in some patients. 

Gastrointestinal symptoms are not uncommon for children but medical experts in a press conference at UAB on Friday admitted that they are baffled by what has occurred since the first identified case of adenovirus in November.  

Here’s what News’s 19 has learned at this point. 

The children that were affected are between 1 and 6 years old and all these children were previously healthy before being diagnosed with adenovirus 41, a strain known to cause diarrhea and vomiting. The confusion experts say is that there is still no indication of how the adenovirus could suddenly cause severe hepatitis in these children.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are asking doctors to warn parents and caregivers that this mysterious disease is out there and to be aware of the symptoms. 

“The more common ones are generally gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea, some vomiting. A child can also have respiratory components, mild cough and congestion and there are certain cases where it can affect the eyes and have conjunctivitis. Those are generally the symptoms that one develops from adenovirus,” said Dr. Henry Schiau of UAB and Children’s of Alabama.  

In addition to cases in Alabama, similar cases of hepatitis have also begun appearing in North Carolina and Europe. The Alabama Department of Public Health says these children have no ties to one another. 

Two of the nine children required a liver transplant. Health experts say that so far there is no link to the Covid-19 virus or any other condition. 

The CDC continues to investigate this rare phenomenon.