Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – Indonesia recently announced that it so far had detected 15 cases of acute hepatitis.
"There are 15 cases [of acute hepatitis] in Indonesia," Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin told a press briefing on Monday.
According to Budi, Indonesia detected its first three mysterious hepatitis cases in Jakarta on April 27 – just four days after the World Health Organization (WHO) reported the disease's outbreak in Europe.
The government has instructed hospitals and health agencies to monitor the acute hepatitis situation.
While the origin of the acute hepatitis remains unknown, Indonesia is working alongside the WHO, the American Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as its British counterpart to quickly identify its exact cause.
"It is most likely adenovirus 41 strain is what causes [the acute hepatitis]. But there are many cases that do not have this adenovirus 41 strain. We are still conducting research together with the US and UK to determine the cause," Budi said.
The minister went on to say that the acute hepatitis mostly affects children under 16 years old, particularly those under the age of five. Regular handwashing is advised because the virus enters the body through the mouth via food. Parents should also watch out for symptoms such as diarrhea and fever in children.
"Check the children's SGOT [serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase] and SGPT [serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase] levels. If the levels exceed 100, they should be referred to the nearest healthcare facility. SPGT and SGOT levels are normally in the 30s," Budi said.