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The Public Health Agency of Canada is now reporting a total 10 cases of the hepatitis virus among children in Canada, all of whom needed to be hospitalized.Pornpak Khunatorn/stock

The Public Health Agency of Canada is reporting three new cases of acute severe hepatitis in children that is being caused by a hepatitis virus from an unknown origin.

The agency is now reporting a total of 10 cases of the illness among children in Canada, up from seven cases earlier this month. It said all of the affected children were hospitalized, and two of them required a liver transplant as a result of the infection.

“Acute severe hepatitis in children is a rare condition in Canada, and in many cases, an underlying or contributing cause is not known,” read a statement from PHAC.

“PHAC is working closely with provincial, territorial, and international partners to further investigate any reported cases of acute severe hepatitis in children not caused by known hepatitis viruses.”

The World Health Organization has said it is investigating roughly 350 cases of hepatitis from an unknown origin that have occurred worldwide, with some deaths being reported from the virus in countries including the U.S. and India.

PHAC says it doesn’t currently know whether the new cases of unknown hepatitis represent a rise over previous years, and said it is analyzing hospital data from the provinces and territories to better understand the situation.

It said four of the affected children are from Ontario, three from Alberta, two from Manitoba and one from Quebec. The children were between one and 13 years old, and became sick between November 2021 and April 2022.

PHAC and WHO say they are investigating adenovirus – a common virus that typically causes cold or flu-like illness or gastroenteritis – as one possible cause of the illnesses.

The government is advising parents and caregivers to be aware of hepatitis symptoms, some of which include jaundice, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and dark urine.

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