Brazilian health authorities have established during the weekend a monitoring room to oversee the development nationwide of the worrying acute hepatitis of unknown origin among children, of which the country has already reported 47 cases under study.
According to Brazil's Health Ministry, the initiative seeks to support the investigation of cases of the disease reported nationwide, in addition to raising evidence to identify possible causes for the disease.
The last three cases have been reported to have appeared in the State of Rio Grande do Sul, although the exact places of the detections and the status of the patients have not been disclosed.
The Federal Ministry's situation room was designed to collate all the information available and coordinate work among all state and municipal health secretariats and Central and Reference Laboratories of Public Health.
The goal is also to contribute to the international effort to identify the etiological agent responsible for the occurrence of acute hepatitis of unknown cause, the Ministry +aid in a statement.
Technicians from the MS, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and invited specialists will participate in the monitoring.
Other cases have been reported in the States of São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, Paraná, Pernambuco, Santa Catarina, Mato Grosso do Sul and Espírito Santo.
Earlier this month, Health Ministry experts have participated in a meeting with specialists from the World Health Organization (WHO) and representatives from the United Kingdom, Spain, United States, Canada, France, Portugal, Colombia, and Argentina to discuss technical matters regarding emergencies, infectology, pediatrics, and epidemiology.
Hepatitis of unknown origin has affected 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 percent of cases, liver transplants have been necessary.
According to the WHO, more than 200 cases had been reported worldwide, mostly in the United Kingdom. There have also been reports in Spain, Israel, the United States, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Italy, Norway, France, Romania, Belgium, and Argentina. The disease mainly affects children from one month old to 16 years old.