The Ministry of Health noted that up to now there have been at least 18 patients suspected of being exposed to acute hepatitis whose cause is unknown.
The President Director of RSPI Suliati Saroso, dr. Muhammad Syahril, said the 18 patients were spread across seven provinces, namely West Sumatra (1), North Sumatra (1), Bangka Belitung Islands (1), DKI Jakarta (12), West Java (1), East Java (1). , and East Kalimantan (1).
“So far, there are 18 symptomatic cases called acute hepatitis whose cause is unknown,” said Syahril in a press teleconference in Jakarta, Friday (13/5).
He explained, of the 18 suspected cases of acute hepatitis, so far only one case has been declared as probable or possibly acute hepatitis. The other nine cases fall into the category pending or still under investigation, while one case is in the verification process, and seven cases have been removed (discarded).
“Which discarded or removed from the suspected case of acute hepatitis because he turned out to have hepatitis A, then in one case there was hepatitis B, then it turned out that he was plus dengue fever, typhoid and two more cases were over 16 years old,” he explained.
Based on age, said Syahril, there were four people under the age of 4 years, six people aged 5-9 years, four people aged 10-14 years, and four people aged 15-20 years.
He said, of the 18 patients, at least seven people died. However, he emphasized that the seven patients who died were not included in the category probable or possibly acute hepatitis.
“The seven who died earlier were not probableso that probable just one. We haven’t confirmed the diagnosis as acute hepatitis, so we can’t say this seventh patient died of acute hepatitis,” he said.
The symptoms caused by these patients are fever, but not too high, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, acute diarrhea, weakness, lethargy, pain in the abdomen. They also experience pain in muscles and joints, yellowing of the eyes and itchy skin. According to Syahril, the color of the urine is cloudy like tea water, while the color of the stool is pale or whitish. Some patients also complain of shortness of breath.
Syahril also emphasized that all patients with suspected acute hepatitis were negative for COVID-19.
On this occasion, Syahril denied that the limitations of health care facilities in the country were the main factor in the high mortality rate in the alleged acute hepatitis case. He stated that almost all of the patients who died were late being referred and treated by the hospital, so they came in quite severe conditions.
“Almost all of those who died were referred with delays in arriving at the hospital, so that some of the patients had seizures. Then there are those who have decreased awareness, so that at the hospital level they are no longer able to provide further assistance for these cases,” he said.
He advised parents, especially those with children under 16 years of age, to immediately take their children to the nearest health care facility if they have symptoms of acute hepatitis, so that the chances of recovery are quite high.
“General efforts in prevention need to be done, because of the spread of acute hepatitis cases through the digestive tract, washing hands with soap is an obligation for us to prevent this transmission. Then food and drinks that must be cooked until cooked, and also in their presentation, especially children who are fed by mothers, families or maids, must maintain hand hygiene and also maintain the hygiene of the food and drinks,” he explained.
Link with COVID-19
Although the Ministry of Health stated that the 18 patients suspected of being exposed to acute hepatitis were tested negative for COVID-19, an epidemiologist from Grifith University, Australia, Dicky Budiman still believes that there is a link between acute hepatitis, which has no known cause, and COVID-19.
“That there is a hypothesis of a link (acute hepatitis) with COVID-19 so far cannot be ruled out, even in my opinion it remains strong. If I look at the data, it is getting stronger, because for example, it is said in the United States that this is, for example, not infected with COVID-19, right now. But no serological or antibody tests were carried out to see the potential found in Israel that this has potential as part of the long COVID-19,” he told VOA.
According to the examination rapid test antigen or PCR in patients with suspected acute hepatitis are not sufficient. They, he said, need to undergo antibody tests to find out if they have ever been exposed to the coronavirus
Dicky believes that acute hepatitis and COVID-19 are related. The reason is, according to the expert, the findings of coronovirus in cases of acute hepatitis in the patient’s blood are low enough that he suspects that acute hepatitis is part of the disease. long COVID.
“We saw the fact that since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, even in Wuhan this hepatitis had occurred, even at that time not only in children but also in adults. Then data in Israel stated that 90 percent of the COVID-19 cases he studied in early or mid 2020-2021, many found similar cases in terms of being part of a direct or indirect impact, such as stroke, blood clots or disorders in the brain. That’s an example of how the potential of COVID-19 can damage body organs or reduce the function of some of those organs,” he concluded. [gi/ab]
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