Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Health Ministry has said that it is still waiting for further studies from the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding the true cause of the mysterious acute hepatitis that is affecting children in several countries.

"We are waiting for the cause from the WHO. We will wait until it is announced by the WHO what the cause of this hepatitis is," Health Ministry spokesperson Syahril said during an FMB9 discussion on "Prevent Acute Hepatitis, Face-to-Face School is Safe" here on Monday.

At least 31 countries have reported the emergence of acute hepatitis, with a total of 614 cases recorded so far, he noted.

In Indonesia, as of Sunday (May 22, 2022), at least 14 cases of acute hepatitis have been detected in seven provinces, with one case identified as a probable case and 13 cases pending classification, he informed.

Though many cases have been reported, the world still does not know the exact cause of this disease as well as the reason why it only transmits among groups of children, he said.

"The main cause, including the incubation period, is not yet known. All of them are still in the research and study period from countries that report cases," Syahril explained.

Although the cause has not yet been discovered, some countries have reported deaths. Therefore, he emphasized that no parent should take the disease lightly.

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While further studies from the WHO are awaited, parents must start educating children about acute hepatitis so that they understand the importance of living a hygienic lifestyle such as wearing masks and washing hands using soap, he said.

Parents must also fully understand the symptoms of acute hepatitis such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, pain in the abdomen, jaundice, pale feces, and tea-brown urine.

"Of course, we will be faster to handle patients with this alertness. If it is not too late, start (the precaution) from the family, health facilities to the referral hospitals with stages of treatment, then we can reduce the death rates for severe cases," Syahril affirmed.

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Translator: Hreeloita S, Kenzu T
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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