Mar 27, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – As tests were pending to determine whether a 1-year-old child in Jakarta is Indonesia's 23rd fatality from avian influenza, other suspected human cases were under investigation today in Egypt and Iraq.
Local tests in Indonesia showed the baby girl from West Jakarta was infected with H5N1 avian flu, according to a health official cited by Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Mar 25. The girl died Mar 23 at Sulianti Saroso Hospital, according to Hariyadi Wibisono, a health ministry official.
"She had a history of contact with sick chickens near her house and suffered serious respiratory problems during hospitalization," Wibisono was quoted as telling AFP. Confirmatory tests are being conducted at a World Health Organization (WHO) collaborating laboratory in Hong Kong.
If her case is confirmed, the girl's death would mark the 23rd avian flu fatality in Indonesia, and the 30th case.
Authorities in Egypt suspect an 18-year-old girl hospitalized there might have the country's fifth human case of H5N1 infection, AFP said in a story today. The girl was hospitalized in the city of Kafr al-Sheikh in stable condition, and authorities were awaiting test results, AFP reported.
One of Egypt's four reported H5N1 case-patients died, one remains hospitalized, and two others "are no longer in danger," the AFP story noted. The WHO has not yet confirmed any of the four cases.
In Iraq, a man died of a suspected H5N1 infection in Baghdad, and one of his family members also is considered to have a possible case. Samples from both people are being tested in Cairo, according to a separate AFP story published today. Iraq's toll currently stands at two confirmed fatal cases.
Mystery in Cambodia
Meanwhile, the investigation into the fifth fatality in Cambodia has yielded surprises, according to AFP.
Authorities have found no sign of H5N1 in birds in the village where a 3-year-old girl died of avian flu on Mar 21, the news service reported. Although about 200 chickens and ducks reportedly died in the village before the girl got sick, initial tests of poultry samples are negative for H5N1, said Kao Phal, director of the Cambodian agriculture ministry's Animal Health Department. Investigators were expanding their search for sick birds outside her village, Phum Tuol Prich.
The WHO yesterday voiced concern over the situation in Cambodia.
Dr. Michael O'Leary of the WHO told AFP yesterday that the fact that H5N1 has not been found in poultry was troubling because it meant that people were encountering sick birds of which the authorities were unaware.
Phal suggested that wild birds or their infected droppings could have caused the girl's infection.
Meanwhile, the number of possible human cases in Cambodia seems smaller than authorities feared last week.
Seven other people from the victim's village who were suspected of having H5N1 have tested negative, the head of Cambodia's infectious disease department, Ly Sovann, told AFP.
Two adults and one child who live in a neighboring village were being treated for fever and respiratory problems at a Phnom Penh hospital, an AFP story said. They also tested negative for H5N1, AFP reported today.
An additional five people who had contact with people suspected of having H5N1 are being tested, Sovann told AFP.
Czech Republic finds H5 flu in swan
Czech officials suspect H5N1 infection killed a dead swan found at Hlubokou Nad Vltava, about 150 miles south of Prague.
The swan was found Mar 20, AFP reported today. The presence of H5 antigens has been confirmed, but the neuraminidase (N) subtype has not yet been confirmed, AFP reported. Further tests are being conducted.