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Close watch on Acute Hepatitis in Brunei, says minister

James Kon

The Ministry of Health (MoH) has stepped up its monitoring efforts in the Sultanate to detect any cases of Acute Hepatitis (an inflammation of the liver) of Unknown Aetiology that has reportedly affected over 100 children in 12 countries as of April 21.

To date, there are no cases of Acute Hepatitis of Unknown Aetiology detected in Brunei, Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar said during the daily press conference yesterday.

The minister said following the World Health Organization (WHO) report on April 23 regarding Acute Hepatitis of Unknown Aetiology among children aged between one month and 16, at least 169 cases have been reported in 12 countries as of April 21, with the United Kingdom (UK) reporting the highest number of cases at 114.

He said, “So far, three countries in Asia have reported such cases – Japan with three cases, Singapore with one and Indonesia with three.”

Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham added, “The incidence has been categorised as ‘Acute Hepatitis of Unknown Aetiology’ because common causes of hepatitis such as from Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E viruses were not detected through laboratory tests.”

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar. PHOTO: JAMES KON

“At least 74 of the reported cases worldwide have been linked to adenovirus, while 20 cases have been linked to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. To date, the exact cause of this is still under investigation and the MoH has stepped up monitoring in the Sultanate to detect any patients with similar symptoms.

“The MoH is also in constant communication with the WHO to obtain the latest information on this matter,” he added. The minister said Acute Hepatitis is not one of the common features of COVID-19 infection in children or a complication of COVID-19 vaccination in children. Authorities in the UK found that the cases detected in the incidence of Acute Hepatitis in the country are children who have not received the COVID-19 vaccination.

He advised parents and guardians of children aged 16 and below to consult a doctor if their children develop symptoms such as jaundice, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue or dark-coloured urine.

Also in attendance at the press conference was Permanent Secretary at the MoH Haji aswadi bin Haji Mohsin.