The worrying potential complications of COVID-19 in young children are being investigated around the world, but British Columbia health officials say there is no evidence it has been seen here yet.
During a briefing on Tuesday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry was asked if British Columbia had reported cases of acute hepatitis in children who had contracted the novel coronavirus.
She said a child with liver disease was recently investigated for a possible link, but it turned out to be unrelated to COVID-19.
“That’s one of the things we’ve been watching with our colleagues across the country,” Henry said.
While more than 200 cases have been reported globally, Henry said no cases have been detected in British Columbia, however, there is enough concern that pediatricians were reminded only last week that liver complications in children are a reportable condition. .
The World Health Organization began investigating an increase in cases of acute hepatitis – hepatitis – among children, mostly under the age of five, last month.
The causes of the unusual clusters have not been identified, but clinicians in the United Kingdom, the United States, Spain, Israel, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Italy, Norway, France, Romania and Belgium are researching the phenomenon.
Henry said Tuesday that global studies are trying to find out if COVID-19 is a factor, and suggested that another virus, Adenovirus 41, may be more closely related to the recent cases. (A report from the US Centers for Disease Control, published May 6, failed to draw a direct link between a cluster in Alabama and COVID-19, and instead pointed to adenovirus infection.)
“It’s still a bit of a mystery globally,” Henry said. “There is still a lot of work to be considered.”
But she noted that it’s too early to say if there are long-term complications from COVID-19 in children.
That’s why she advises constant vigilance to prevent children from being exposed to the virus, and to vaccinate and boost them when they are eligible.
Henry said she also hopes Canada will see federal approval of vaccines for children aged six months to five years soon. Pending clinical trial results, she said, childhood vaccines may be available in British Columbia as early as the summer.
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