Avian flu blamed in another Indonesian death

May 1, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – An Indonesian man whose death was attributed to H5N1 avian influenza will bring Indonesia's death toll from the virus to 25, if his case is confirmed outside the country.

The man reportedly had come into contact with his neighbor's infected chickens in Tangerang, 25 miles west of Jakarta, according to a CNN.com story on Apr 28.

Samples from the man tested positive for H5N1 in an Indonesian laboratory, the Associated Press (AP) reported. Confirmatory testing is under way at a World Health Organization (WHO) reference lab in Hong Kong.

The WHO has confirmed 32 human cases, with 24 deaths, from H5N1 in Indonesia.

Elsewhere, the Wall Street Journal Asia said on Apr 27 that local health officials in China had failed to report possible human cases of avian flu to the central government, according to an Apr 29 Reuters report. The same issue has been raised elsewhere.

But the Chinese government denied the allegation. "The release of information has been timely, open and transparent," Health Ministry spokesman Mao Qun'an told Reuters.

In addition, Chinese officials involved with tracking and stemming the spread of the virus among birds have established a quarantine zone in the Qinghai region in north-central China, according to BBC News online. A wild goose found dead in the region tested positive for H5N1.

The virus so far has not been found in domestic poultry around Qinghai, according to an AP story today.

The region is a major stopover point for migratory birds, and thousands of migratory birds died in an H5N1 outbreak at the Qinghai Lake wildlife sanctuary last year. The H5N1 virus later found in two people in Turkey was virtually identical to bird samples obtained in Qinghai, according to a statement in the AP story attributed to the WHO.

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