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News > Indonesia

Indonesia: Unidentified Hepatitis Cause Children’s Deaths

  • Indonesia's health ministry reported the death of three children from a unidentified form of hepatitis. May. 4, 2022.

    Indonesia's health ministry reported the death of three children from a unidentified form of hepatitis. May. 4, 2022. | Photo: Twitter/@DrlanWeissman

Published 4 May 2022

Indonesia's Health Ministry reported three children's death from an unidentified form of hepatitis.

On Tuesday, the Health Ministry of Indonesia reported the deaths of three children caused by a mysterious liver disease that has been seen in about 170 children worldwide, pushing the global death toll to at least four.

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Across 11 countries, a severe type of acute hepatitis has been detected in at least 170 children in previous weeks, exacerbating World Health Organization (WHO)'s concerns over the disease’s “unknown origin.”

The children affected suffered from the same symptoms before detecting liver inflammation, which includes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. According to the Indonesian Health Ministry, three children who presented similar symptoms died in hospitals last month in Jakarta's capital.

The ministry’s spokesperson Siti Nadia Tarmizi said that the children, aged two, eight, and 11, also suffered from fever, jaundice, convulsions, and loss of consciousness. “At the moment, we suspect the cases as acute hepatitis, but we need to confirm that they are not due to known hepatitis viruses A, B, C, D, and Rb,” said the spokesperson.

Tarmizi continued to say the Health Ministry is conducting those investigations on the cause of the disease by running a full panel of virus tests. The Ministerial institution recommended that the parents take their children to the hospital in case of presenting any of the symptoms.

Concerns in the global health community have emerged as a possible new disease afflicting only young children; most of the affected are under 10, with no underlying conditions.

The WHO has announced that in the UK, alongside Ireland and the Netherlands, there was an “unexpected significant increase” among healthy children. Last Friday, a cluster in Alabama published a study carried out by the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported nine children have also tested positive for a common pathogen called adenovirus 41.

“It is not usually known as a cause of hepatitis in otherwise healthy children,” said the study of the agency, referring to the pathogen commonly known to be the cause of gastroenteritis in children.

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