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PHAC monitoring for mysterious liver disease in Canada

Child in a hospital

There are currently no Canadian cases of the severe liver disease that has been reported to be striking children in Europe and the U.S., according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

The agency confirmed to in an email that they have not seen any cases yet of the acute hepatitis — a type of liver inflammation — that was first seen in Scotland at the start of April.

“The Public Health Agency of Canada is aware of the reports of severe acute hepatitis of unknown aetiology in young children, as reported by the WHO,” PHAC said in a statement. “We are monitoring the situation, and to date, no Canadian cases have been reported to PHAC.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) first flagged the issue last Friday, stating that on April 5, they were notified of 10 cases of severe acute hepatitis in children younger than 10 years old in Scotland. All were previously healthy children, and the youngest case was in a child only 11 months old.

Children presented with symptoms including jaundice, vomiting and abdominal pain.

Currently there are at least 74 cases in the U.K., according to WHO, with three similar cases in Spain and a few more in Ireland that are under investigation, all involving children, largely under 10 years of age.

U.S. health officials said Friday that they were looking into nine similar cases in Alabama.

Acute hepatitis is the broad term for liver inflammation that affects liver function for less than six months, at which point it would be chronic hepatitis.

What “unknown aetiology” means is that doctors don’t know what is causing this particular type of acute hepatitis, as it can be the result of viral infections, injury to the biliary tract, shock, or caused by drugs or alcohol.

WHO stated that they have ruled out hepatitis types A, B, C, and E viruses through laboratory testing. Top Stories

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