Canada Is Investigating Possible 'Severe Acute Hepatitis' In Kids & Here's What We Know

There have been over 160 cases of the mystery liver illness around the world.

Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam. Right: A hallway in a children's hospital.

Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam. Right: A hallway in a children's hospital.

An unknown liver disease in children is under investigation in Canada to determine if it is linked to reports of acute hepatitis in both the U.K. and the U.S.

Several cases of "severe acute hepatitis" in children have been reported in Canada, prompting the Public Health Agency of Canada to investigate.

There are currently suspicions that they could be connected to recent similar cases in the United States, the United Kingdom and several other countries, but no confirmation has been made.

At least one death has been reported outside of Canada due to the "acute hepatitis of unknown origin."

Canada's Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said in a statement that, "at least 169 cases of severe acute hepatitis of unknown origin have been reported in children in 12 countries."

"[PHAC] is aware of several cases under investigation in young children in Canada, with confirmation pending," she added.

In a statement to Narcity, PHAC stated that "Potential cases in Canada are being investigated further to determine if they are related to cases in the United Kingdom and the United States."

"We will continue to provide updates as the investigation evolves and new information becomes available."

Worldwide, there have been 169 cases of "acute hepatitis of unknown origin" in children that have been reported in both Europe and the U.S.A., according to the WHO.

Cases are being reported in children as young as one month old, up to 16 years old.

The causative agent has yet to be determined, but one hypothesis is that it is linked to an infection of an adenovirus — a virus which typically causes respiratory illness, pink eye and diarrhea, among other things — with it being detected in 74 of the cases.

The WHO also points out that further investigation into the illness is necessary before more is known.

However, the organization mentions that "hypotheses related to side effects from the COVID-19 vaccines are currently not supported as the vast majority of affected children did not receive COVID-19 vaccination."

As of right now, it is unconfirmed whether the reported cases in Canada have any similarities with the ones outside of the country.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Tristan Wheeler
Tristan Wheeler was a Creator for Narcity Media focused on money and budgets and is based in Toronto, Ontario.