Brazil sets up medical situation room to monitor acute hepatitis in kids
Brasilia, May 15 (IANS) The Brazilian government has announced the establishment of a special situation room with technicians from the Pan American Health Organization that will monitor and investigate cases of acute hepatitis in children.
At least 44 cases of the disease have been reported in the Brazilian states of Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, Espirito Santo, Parana, Santa Catarina, Rio Grande do Sul, Mato Grosso, and Pernambuco by the Secretariat of Health Surveillance at the Ministry of Health, Xinhua news agency reported citing state media.
"The goal (of the situation room) is to contribute to the international effort to identify the etiological agent responsible for acute hepatitis of unknown origin," said a statement of the Ministry of Health.
At the request of the World Health Organization (WHO), Brazilian health officials last week met representatives from the UK, the US, Canada, France, Portugal, Spain, Colombia, and Argentina to discuss the disease.
The situation room is designed to centralise information and recommendations for doctors across Brazil.
According to the WHO, the mysterious acute hepatitis condition among children has spread to 21 countries with 348 probable cases.
The liver disease that was first reported in the UK in April, has reportedly seen five child deaths in the US, and three in Indonesia, while about 26 children had to undergo liver transplantation.
While so far there is no reason identified, adenovirus, a common family of infections responsible for illnesses from colds to eye infections, is suspected to be causing the condition, the WHO noted.
Hepatitis impacts the liver and can be detected by the onset of jaundice (yellow eyes), dark urine and/or pale stools.