Sep 16, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – Tests have confirmed that an Indonesian woman who died Sep 10 had H5N1 avian influenza, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced today.
The woman's case had been listed as probable on the basis of an initial test. Further testing at a WHO reference laboratory in Hong Kong confirmed the case, the WHO said. The woman fell ill Aug 31 and was hospitalized in Jakarta Sep 3, the agency said.
How the woman became infected was still unknown. Because of where she lived, she had "multiple opportunities for exposure to chickens and ducks," but no recent poultry deaths had been reported in the area, the WHO said.
The WHO listed the woman's case as only the second laboratory-confirmed case of H5N1 avian flu in Indonesia, but Indonesian officials have reported four previous cases. Those included a 38-year-old man and his two young daughters who died in July and a farm worker who tested positive for antibodies to the virus last March, though he had not been sick.
The WHO said today the 38-year-old man tested positive for the virus, but the results for his daughters "did not meet criteria for H5N1 infections."
The latest confirmed case brings CIDRAP's unofficial count of Asia's H5N1 cases since late 2003 to 121, with 63 deaths. Those numbers include the other four Indonesian cases but exclude the case of a 58-year-old Vietnamese man who died in late August and had tested positive, but whose final test results have not yet been reported.
Indonesian Health Minister Siti Fadillah Supari said officials have taken blood samples from people who had contact with the deceased 37-year-old woman, according to an Agence France-Presse report today. Without giving details, Supari said one contact was suspected to have been infected, but remained healthy.
Sep 16 WHO statement