Jakarta (ANTARA) - Adults and the elderly are likely to contract acute hepatitis, according to the Sulianti Saroso Infectious Diseases Hospital (RSPI SS) in Jakarta.

"Most of the cases worldwide are reported among children in the age bracket of one month to 16 years, but (acute hepatitis) can actually affect people from all age groups after having (come in direct) contact with acute hepatitis patients," RSPI SS' Head of the Infection Prevention and Control Committee, Titi Sundari, explained here on Wednesday.

However, Sundari noted that until now, acute hepatitis cases had only been found in those in the age group of one month to 16 years.

She remarked that one of the ways to avoid the transmission of diseases, including of acute hepatitis, is to maintain hand hygiene.

Sundari suggested people to wash their hands more often by using soap and running water.

"The function of a soap when used with water on the hands is to lower the surface tension on the skin, so that the germs will be easily cleared out," she explained.

She also recommended people to wash their hands properly, starting from the palms to the back of their hands, between fingers, and up to the fingertips.

"Washing hands is not just wetting (them) with water. Do not forget to dry them to keep them hygienic," she stressed.

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In addition to soap, she stated that the use of hand sanitizers can help keep the hands clean. She explained that the alcohol present in hand sanitizers acts as an antiseptic that can kill 90 percent of the bacteria, viruses, and fungal organisms.

However, Sundari asserted that in the case of acute hepatitis, people are advised to wash their hands more frequently using soap and running water.

This is deemed necessary since the currently suspected cause of acute hepatitis is adenovirus, for which the 70-percent alcohol present in hand sanitizers was not effective to kill them.

"WHO's guidelines also state that it is better to clean hands with soap and running water," Sundari pointed out.

Meanwhile, Jakarta Deputy Governor Ahmad Riza Patria remarked here on Wednesday that 21 suspected cases of acute hepatitis were found in the capital, with records of three children succumbing to the disease.

"It is still in the process of epidemiological investigation," Patria stated.
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Translator: Zubi M, Kenzu T
Editor: Suharto
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