Three cases of acute childhood hepatitis of unknown origin are being monitored by the Health Department (SES). Information on age, municipality of residence and other details of the clinical status of the cases will not yet be released until the investigations advance. A case is considered probable when the person has acute hepatitis and all known disease-causing viruses (A, B, C, D, or E) have been ruled out, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO). In these cases, other tests are done to determine if the cause may be another, such as adenovirus, Covid-19 or arboviruses (dengue, zika and chikungunya).
Acute hepatitis has different gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea or vomiting, fever and muscle pain. However, the most characteristic is jaundice (yellowish discoloration of the skin and eyes). The Ministry of Health had already issued a warning about cases that are classified as probable in at least eight other states (Espírito Santo, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Paraná, Pernambuco, Rio de Janeiro, Santa Catarina and São Paulo).
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Also in April, the SES had already issued a statement with guidelines for epidemiological surveillance of Viral Hepatitis in the municipalities and regions of the State. Hepatitis of unknown origin is affecting children in at least 20 countries. The disease manifests itself in a very severe form and is not directly related to the known viruses of the disease. In about 10% of cases, liver transplantation was necessary. In a statement released on April 23, the WHO said there was no link between the disease and the vaccines used against Covid-19.
Symptoms and treatment
According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), an arm of the WHO in the Americas and the Caribbean, patients with acute hepatitis had gastrointestinal symptoms and jaundice. Current treatment seeks to relieve symptoms and stabilize the patient, if the case is severe. Treatment recommendations should be refined once the source of the infection is determined. Parents should be on the lookout for symptoms, such as diarrhea or vomiting, and for signs of jaundice. In such cases, medical attention should be sought immediately.
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