EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — More than 100 children are taking part in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study on pediatric hepatitis, including patients from Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Hundreds of cases of acute hepatitis in children have cropped up across the globe. The CDC is investigating 180 suspected cases nationwide over seven months in an effort to find the cause of this severe illness in otherwise healthy children.

The CDC has identified 36 states that have at least one “person under investigation” for possible hepatitis as of May 18.

The CDC clarified that the data does not represent current cases, saying some of them date as far back as October 2021. The agency also noted that severe hepatitis continues to be rare in children, and families should look out for jaundice in particular as a symptom.

Joseph Wendelken, a spokesperson for the R.I. Department of Health, said there is one confirmed pediatric hepatitis case in the state. The patient was asymptomatic and did not require hospitalization.

The Health Department warned families to be aware of the symptoms and issued the following general prevention guidance:

  • Make sure children are up to date with vaccinations
  • Wash their hands often
  • Stay home when sick
  • Avoid other people who are sick
  • Covering coughs and sneezes
  • Avoid touching their eyes, nose, or mouth