Mysterious Acute Hepatitis Outbreak Claimed 5 Fatalities in Indonesia - 15 Others Have Been Infected

Indonesia reported 5 fatalities and 15 confirmed infection of acute hepatitis outbreak.

NusantaraPol - A spokesperson for the Indonesian Ministry of Health, Siti Nadia Tarmizi, said the number of patients who died from acute hepatitis was reported to have increased from three to five people.

Nadia said the 5 patients who died were in DKI Jakarta, East Java, and West Sumatra. 

"5 people died in DKI Jakarta, East Java, and West Sumatra," said Nadia when contacted by on Tuesday (10/5/2022).

She also said that as many as 15 cases of acute hepatitis were detected in 5 provinces, namely DKI Jakarta, West Java, East Java, West Sumatra, and Bangka Belitung. Until now, continued Nadia, several patients, the majority aged 1 to 6 years old, are still being treated.

"11 people from DKI Jakarta, West Sumatra 1, East Java 1, Bangka Belitung 1, and West Java 1," she said.

Previously, Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin revealed 15 cases of acute hepatitis in Indonesia as of Monday (9/5/2022). Budi said that his party had issued a circular letter addressed to all hospitals and health offices to carry out surveillance related to this case as of April 27, 2022.

Minister of Health Budi G. Sadikin gives a press statement at the Presidential Office, Jakarta, Monday (09/05/2022). (Photo: Public Relations Secretariat / Agung)
Minister of Health Budi G. Sadikin gives a press statement at the Presidential Office, Jakarta, Monday (09/05/2022). Photo: Public Relations Secretariat / Agung.

This was done four days after the World Health Organization (WHO) announced an outbreak of acute hepatitis in Europe on April 23, 2022.

"Until today, there are 15 cases in Indonesia," said Budi at a press conference on the virtual PPKM (Indonesia's COVID-19 restriction policy) evaluation meeting.

He also revealed that the highest number of cases of acute hepatitis occurred in the UK. The country confirmed as many as 115 patients. In addition, this case also occurred in Italy, Spain, and the United States. 

Budi said that his party had discussed with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States and Britain after Eid al-Fitr. However, there is no definite answer regarding this mysterious case of acute hepatitis. 

"And we have received information. It is not yet certain what virus is 100 percent causing this acute hepatitis," said Budi. 

He asked the public to take precautions by diligently washing their hands and ensuring cleanness. The virus that causes acute hepatitis is transmitted through food intake, especially in children under 16 years. 

"So we make sure what goes into our children is clean because this (virus) attacks (children) under 16 years old and (especially) under five years old," explained Budi.

Epidemiologist and Global Public Health practitioner Dicky Budiman said the mysterious acute hepatitis disease is unlikely to develop into a pandemic like COVID-19. 

"The potential is small to become a pandemic. If it becomes an epidemic, it can," said Dicky to, Tuesday (10/5/2022). 

According to him, there are several criteria that make a disease become a pandemic. 

"When it comes to diseases that cause pandemics, apart from being generally new diseases, they must be fast in transmission, usually through the respiratory tract, droplets," he said. 

"In this regard, I don't see the potential for hepatitis, which is still mysterious, to become a pandemic," he continued. 

Although it does not have the potential to become a pandemic, Dicky said, this disease could actually be the impact of the pandemic that occurred. 

"That this is the impact of a pandemic, it could be. We still have to be careful in looking at this phenomenon," Dicky said.