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Fewer than 5 possible cases of severe acute hepatitis reported at London’s Children’s Hospital

LHSC Children's Hospital. Matthew Trevithick / Global News

London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) says Children’s Hospital in London, Ont., is investigating fewer than five possible cases of severe acute hepatitis in children.

In a statement to Global News on Wednesday, an LHSC spokesperson confirmed that the London-based hospital for children has had fewer than five patients present with symptoms consistent with the virus reported between now and the start of 2022.

Due to privacy concerns, LHSC would not confirm the number or age of any patients but did say they were all under the age of 18.

This comes after SickKids Hospital confirmed Tuesday it was looking into seven probable cases of severe acute hepatitis in patients from Oct. 1, 2021, and April 30, 2022.

Read more: 7 probable cases of severe acute hepatitis in children reported at Toronto’s SickKids Hospital

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The spokesperson also stated they have been working with SickKids and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

Hepatitis is usually caused by one of several contagious hepatitis viruses, like A or B, which have not been found in the affected children. A spokesperson for PHAC reports that the disease is “very rare” in Canada and causes inflammation of the liver.

PHAC advises parents and caregivers to look out for symptoms like fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, skin and eyes turning yellow, dark urine, abdominal pain, loss of appetite and light-coloured stool.

Click to play video: 'Mysterious hepatitis cases in children reported in Canada'
Mysterious hepatitis cases in children reported in Canada

There have been international reports concerning children with this illness who have experienced sudden severe liver disease. Children impacted so far range in age from one month to 16 years.

Most cases have occurred in Europe. The first cases in the United Kingdom were recorded in January, while the United States detected its first cases in October in Alabama.

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Read more: Canada detects severe hepatitis of ‘unknown origin’ cases in kids. What is it?

The World Health Organization (WHO) said Tuesday there are now 348 probable cases of acute hepatitis among children across five regions globally.

It is still unclear how many cases total there are across Canada, but one known case was reported by Shared Health Manitoba on Tuesday.

A spokesperson with PHAC did say it is aware of cases of severe acute hepatitis of unknown origin in young children under investigation in Ontario from SickKids Hospital. The spokesperson said that the province is reviewing these cases, and those that meet the case definition will be reported to PHAC to be included in the national investigation.

On April 14, through the Canadian National Public Health Intelligence (CNPHI) platform, PHAC alerted provincial and territorial public health authorities to increase their vigilance to potential illnesses consistent with the case definition of the virus.

– with files from Global News Shane Gibson, Gabby Rodrigues, Aaron D’Andrea and Hannah Jackson

Click to play video: 'WHO confirms 348 probably cases of acute hepatitis in children'
WHO confirms 348 probably cases of acute hepatitis in children

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