Health Official Says Recent Hepatitis Outbreak Unlikely to Become Pandemic

Diana Mariska
Hepatitis illustration (Photo: Pixabay)
Hepatitis illustration (Photo: Pixabay) - A health expert from Indonesian Ministry of Health has predicted that the recent acute hepatitis outbreak is unlikely to become pandemic since it’s spreading relatively slowly globally.

The spokesperson for the Ministry Siti Nadia Tarmizi commented on the recent hepatitis outbreak that has also been found in Indonesia and said there is very little possibility that it will become the new pandemic in the near future because the number of confirmed cases are considerably low.

“No possibility of [the disease] becoming pandemic if we’re looking at the number of cases, and until recently, there are only six countries that the reported acute hepatitis with a total of more than six patients,” Tarmizi said on Wednesday, May 11, as reported by Antara.

The health expert added that cases classified as probable acute hepatitis have reached 348, with an addition of new 70 cases, but all of those are still being investigated.

Meanwhile, former director of infectious diseases at the World Health Organization (WHO) for Southeast Asia Tjandra Yoga said preliminary study must be conducted by WHO prior to identifying the acute hepatitis as pandemic.

“On the possibility of any disease to become pandemic, it will be first declared as public health emergency of international concern, or PHEIC,” Yoga said.

He said upon PHEIC declaration, a number of indicators will be examined, including whether the disease spread across continents, whether it causes serious health problems, and whether it’s a new disease.

If the disease continues to spread, it will then be declared as pandemic.

On the most recent pandemic declaration, COVID-19 was first reported by WHO on January 5, 2020, declared as PHEIC on January 31, 2020, and announced as pandemic on March 11, 2020.

In Jakarta, deputy governor Ahmad Riza Patria confirmed on Wednesday there were 21 suspected cases of acute hepatitis found in the capital city, and three children died. It was also reported that acute hepatitis cases also emerge in adults.

"Temporary data there are 21 cases that are suspected to be related to acute hepatitis. However, this is still in the process of an epidemiological investigation," Patria said.

And to handle the recent outbreak, Patria said there’s a special team that has been established by officials and regional leaders without the need for orders from the governor or deputy governor.

Tag # acute hepatitis # global mystery hepatitis outbreak # hepatitis outbreak in indonesia # hepatitis in children # ministry of health

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