Ten children in Canada were found to be suffering from serious and mysterious cases of hepatitis over a recent five-month period, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), following an investigation into unexplained liver inflammation in children.
The cases of “severe acute hepatitis” did not stem from the usual viruses, such as hepatitis A, B, C and E, or from any other clear cause, PHAC said in a statement Friday.
All of the children were hospitalized and two required liver transplants, according to the statement. Three of the cases were in Alberta, two in Manitoba, four in Ontario and one in Quebec.
All of the children were between the ages of one and 13 and became ill between Nov. 3, 2021, and April 2, the agency said.
Earlier this month, PHAC said it was investigating more than a dozen possible cases of serious liver disease of unknown origin among children in Canada, amid a mysterious hepatitis outbreak that has affected nearly 200 young people worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) is also investigating.
Some researchers have pointed to COVID-19 and adenoviruses, a family of viruses that typically cause cold- or flu-like illnesses, as possible suspects.
PHAC says its research is very broad and counts all children with liver inflammation of uncertain cause.
The agency says it is working with all provinces and territories to identify potential cases by asking them to look for patients dating back to October of last year, which coincides with the time frame of the WHO international investigation.
PHAC urges parents to contact health care providers if they notice symptoms of hepatitis in their children, including yellowing of the skin and eyes, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, dark urine, loss of appetite, fever, and fatigue. .