Indonesia says man was 9th H5N1 fatality

Dec 13, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – A 35-year-old Indonesian man who died in November had H5N1 avian influenza, marking the country's 14th confirmed case and ninth death, Indonesian officials announced today.

Officials made the announcement after receiving test results from a World Health Organization (WHO) reference laboratory in Hong Kong, according to a Bloomberg News report today. The man died in Jakarta.

The WHO has not yet updated its Web site to reflect the case, which is expected to become the 138th confirmed case and 71st death since late 2003.

In addition, the Indonesian Health Ministry was testing samples from a suspected avian flu patient, a 39-year-old man who died in Jakarta today, said Ilham Patu, a spokesman for Sulianti Saroso Hospital, as quoted by Bloomberg. Also, the Jakarta Post said today that five new suspected avian flu patients were admitted last night, for a total of six suspected patients at the hospital.

Despite what appears to be an increase in the number of avian flu cases, authorities cautioned that better surveillance may simply be uncovering disease that has been present in previous years, the Bloomberg story said.

"Today we see more human cases of avian influenza because of the improvement in information systems, improvement in surveillance," said Samlee Plianbangchang, WHO regional director in Southeast Asia.

Virus spreads in Ukraine
More than 420 people are under surveillance following discovery of H5N1 outbreaks in poultry in the Ukraine, according to the Russian news outlet Itar-tass in a report yesterday.

No human cases of avian flu have been found, but outbreaks continue to spread in poultry in the Crimean region, where more than 37,000 birds have been culled. Poultry in 19 villages and two cities were thought to be affected by the virus, the Moscow Times reported online yesterday.

Libyan media report avian flu
Documents show that avian flu viruses are widespread in Libya and that government officials are aware of the situation, according to yesterday's online edition of the Khaleej Times, a daily newspaper published from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The Khaleej Times drew its report from Libyan media sources, which reportedly said Dec 9 that Libyan security ministry and senior officials in the Inspection and Control Department were aware and admitted to the Libyan prime minister that an avian flu virus was widespread in several poultry farms in the Benghazi region of northeastern Libya.

But Libyan authorities have repeatedly denied the presence of avian flu, the Times story said.

The report said routine checks on poultry farms led to blood sampling. Blood samples from poultry were sent to a laboratory in the United Kingdom, which confirmed that all the samples were positive, the Khaleej Times reported.

Unfortunately, the story did not indicate what flu strain was identified, whether the strain is known, or whether poultry were dying.

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