Gov’t conducts epidemiological investigation over acute hepatitis

Human Rights

The government had called on the Ministry of Health to step up vigilance and conduct cross-sectoral epidemiological investigations to anticipate acute hepatitis of unknown etiology.

Main Expert Staff of the Presidential Staff Office (KSP) Brian Sriprahastuti pressed for conducting investigation and bolster vigil at the earliest for cases found with symptoms and signs of acute hepatitis, especially in children under the age of five to 11 years.

“Investigation of the cause of acute hepatitis is conducted in each case through a complete viral panel examination,” Sriprahastuti noted in a written statement received here, Friday.

The KSP main expert staff also highlighted that the government had issued a circular addressed to health care facilities, local governments, port health offices (KKP), and stakeholders to provide support and early vigil over the emergence of acute hepatitis of unknown cause.

The surfacing of cases of acute hepatitis of unknown cause has become a cause of global concern after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared it as an Extraordinary Event (KLB) on April 15, 2022. The WHO received 169 cases reported in 12 countries, including Indonesia.

In Indonesia, until April 30, 2022, three pediatric patients, with suspected acute hepatitis, reportedly died while being treated at the Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital, Jakarta.

Sriprahastuti explained that acute hepatitis is a sudden liver inflammation with symptoms, such as abdominal pain, jaundice, diarrhea, vomiting, urine color changes, pale stools, high fever, or a history of fever, and characterized by elevated levels of liver enzymes.

“If you find a child experiencing such symptoms, then please immediately take them to the nearest hospital or health facility. If treatment is delayed, liver function failure will occur, which is marked by impaired consciousness,” she cautioned.

Sriprahastuti remarked that so far, the cause of acute hepatitis, which is currently an outbreak, is unknown. Laboratory testing showed no signs of Hepatitis A, B, C, D, or E viruses that generally cause hepatitis.

Regarding the news of the discovery of SARS-CoV-2, or Adenovirus, in several cases, Sriprahastuti said that the validity of the news had yet to be corroborated.

“Until now, it has not been proven that the two viruses are the cause. Further investigations to look for both biological and chemical causes are still being conducted,” she revealed.

Sriprahastuti reminded the public to not panic, to remain calm, to be careful, and to take steps to prevent the infection.

“Infection preventive measures can be adopted by washing hands, drinking clean boiled water, eating clean and fully cooked food, disposing feces and disposable diapers at a certain place, using separate eating utensils, wearing masks, and keeping a distance,” she concluded.

Source: Antara News