Tuesday , April 23 2024

Health ministry asks for samples of hepatitis if origin unknown

The health ministry has called on authorities to take samples from hepatitis patients if the manner of causation is unknown.

Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Truong Son Monday said this is to increase preparedness against the acute pediatric hepatitis of unknown origin found so far in over 20 countries and territories.

Vietnam had recorded none as of last Sunday.

The ministry has also recommended vaccination against hepatitis B for all children, especially infants.

Localities need to conduct health screening for early detection of viral hepatitis, it added.

This is its second warning in a week about the mystery hepatitis after last week telling localities to step up surveillance to detect possible cases.

The disease was first detected in England and Scotland in early April, when around 70 children aged between one month and 16 years were infected. Most were below five.

It was then found in 20 other countries in several regions. In Southeast Asia, Indonesia’s health ministry said three children have died of the mysterious condition.

At least 228 probable cases have been found globally, WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic said Tuesday at a press briefing in Geneva, Switzerland, Reuters reported.

Symptoms of the disease include dark urine, yellowing of the eyes and skin (jaundice), fatigue, fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, light-colored stools, and joint pain.

The exact cause of the disease has yet to be confirmed, but scientists are pointing to adenoviruses as a suspect. Adenoviruses are a group of common viruses that infect the lining of eyes, airways and lungs, intestines, urinary tract, and nervous system. They’re common causes of fever, cough, sore throat, diarrhea, and pink eye.

WHO has not called for any travel or commercial restrictions on countries where the disease has been detected.

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