Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – Indonesia on Wednesday reported that it had identified 14 suspected cases of acute hepatitis of unknown origin, thirteen of which were still waiting for their test results before being classified as a probable case.
The country originally had 27 suspected cases of unexplained liver disease. The Health Ministry later discarded 13 cases after test results proved reactive to Hepatitis A, B, or other pathogens. Some of the discarded cases involved patients older than 16.
"This leaves Indonesia with 14 suspected cases of acute hepatitis as of May 17. One is a probable case, while the 13 others' [statuses] are still pending," Mohammad Syahril, the new spokesperson at the Health Ministry, told a press briefing on Wednesday.
The Health Ministry will classify the patient as a probable case if they test negative for Hepatitis A-E and/or other etiologies. The patients must also be 16 years old or younger. Another criterion is that the patient's serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase (SGOT) and serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase (SGPT) levels should exceed international units per liter (IU/L).
According to Syahril, thirteen patients are still waiting for their hepatitis A-E serology results and thus still hold the "pending classification" status.
The one probable case was a pediatric patient in Jakarta who had already passed away on April 19.
"This probable case will await further developments to see whether the [status] remains probable or discarded," Syahril said.
To date, six children have died from a suspected case of mysterious hepatitis in Indonesia. The youngest was only two months old, the Health Ministry reported.
The government data showed that all 14 patients were under the age of 16. Seven patients belong to the 0-5 years age group.
The Health Ministry identified the 14 suspected cases in Jakarta, West Sumatra, North Sumatra, Jambi, and East Java. Jakarta has 7 patients with a pending classification status and one probable case.
"Four patients [of the 14 suspected cases] are still undergoing treatment. The remaining four patients have already recovered," Syahril said.
Fever, loss of appetite, and vomiting are the three most commonly found symptoms among the 14 suspected cases of acute hepatitis.
Syahril added that 57.1 percent of the patients suffered from jaundice or the yellowish discoloration of the skin and whites of the eyes. Some 42.9 percent have acute diarrhea.
"About 28.6 percent have shortness of breath," Syahril said.