Nov 8, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – A 35-year-old man from Hanoi has become the 42nd Vietnamese to die of H5N1 avian influenza, while the number of suspected cases in Indonesia continued to grow, news services reported today.
Samples taken from the man were positive for the H5N1 virus, according to tests performed at the National Institute of Epidemiology in Hanoi, health ministry official Tran Duc Long told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
The man became ill after eating a chicken with his family, was hospitalized Oct 26, and died Oct 29, according to a Reuters report. If confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO), his case will bring the number of confirmed H5N1 cases in Vietnam to 92.
In addition, doctors in Vietnam said they suspected H5N1 killed a 68-year-old man from Quang Tri province, Reuters reported.
Meanwhile, Indonesia continued to test for human infections. A 16-year-old girl who died in a Jakarta hospital on Nov 6 is suspected of having had H5N1 infection, according to an AFP report today.
"Based on the symptoms, especially high fever, heavy pneumonia and a rapid lowering of lymphocyte cells in the blood, I tend to believe that the patient has bird flu," said Ilham Patu, a spokesman at the Sulianti Saroso hospital in South Jakarta, in an AFP interview. Samples from the victim will be tested for H5N1.
Elsewhere in Indonesia, officials were testing dozens of birds, as well as samples from 14 relatives and neighbors of 19-year-old Ina Sholati, who died of H5N1 in Tangerang last month, AFP reported. WHO confirmed her yesterday that she had the H5N1 virus.
AFP cited a report from the Kompas daily newspaper that 11 chickens had died at Sholati's home in early October and were dumped in a nearby pond. Sholati's 8-year-old brother, Ilham Junaidi, who is recovering from a confirmed H5N1 infection, played in the pond. The same source told the newspaper that neighbors hadn't been told how to prevent avian flu infection.
The Jakarta Post reported today that the Sulianti Saroso Hospital was still treating Sholati's daughter and nephew, as well as a nurse.
"Both her daughter and nephew tested negative for bird flu. They don't have bird flu symptoms and seem to be in good health. However, we are still waiting for the test results of a nurse who took care of Ina (Sholati)," Patu told the Post. "If she tests positive, there is a great possibility that she got the virus from Ina. The nurse has no history of being in close contact with birds or chicken."
Reported numbers of human cases of avian flu in Indonesia continue to vary. Today's AFP story said Indonesia has had more than a dozen suspected avian flu deaths. The Indonesian government had tallied 40 human cases of avian flu with 15 deaths as of Nov 1, according to a presentation given at the global conference under way in Geneva and posted on the WHO Web site. The WHO has confirmed nine cases, five of which were fatal.
The battle against poultry outbreaks also continued. In China, authorities culled 6 million chickens over the weekend in response to an outbreak in the county of Heishan in Liaoning province in northeastern China, according to Xinhua news service. Local farmers cooperated with the government and received about US $1.16 million in compensation.
Indonesia's presentation at Geneva conference on pandemic flu