Three children in Indonesia die of acute hepatitis in April

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Three pediatric patients in Indonesia died from acute hepatitis in April, the country’s health ministry said, boosting the global death toll from the mysterious liver ailment affecting children from the US to Asia to at least four.

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The children, hospitalized in the capital Jakarta, had symptoms including nausea, vomiting, heavy diarrhea, fever, jaundice, seizures and loss of consciousness, the ministry said in a statement Monday. It is urging parents to immediately bring children who exhibit these symptoms to the hospital.

The ministry is running a full panel of tests to determine the cause of the disease and has issued a circular to step up nationwide surveillance for the illness, it said.

Over the weekend, Singapore confirmed a case of acute hepatitis in a 10-month old baby and is investigating whether it has a similar presentation to other cases reported worldwide.

At least one other child has died from acute hepatitis, and more than a dozen others globally have undergone liver transplants after coming down with the disease, according to the World Health Organization.

While the cause of the sickness is yet to be determined, investigators are studying a family of pathogens called adenoviruses that cause a range of illnesses including the common cold.

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