WHO lab confirms 40th Indonesian avian flu death

Jul 3, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – A 5-year-old boy who died Jun 16 in East Java province has become Indonesia's 40th death from H5N1 avian influenza, according to test results from a World Health Organization (WHO)-accredited lab, as reported today by Reuters.

Indonesia now trails Vietnam for most deaths in the world from H5N1 by only two, according to WHO statistics. Vietnam, however, has had no human cases of H5N1 since last November, while Indonesia's 52 cases have all come in 2005 and 2006.

The boy was admitted to a hospital in Tulungagung, East Java, Jun 8 and died 8 days later, Nyoman Kandun, director-general of disease control for Indonesia's Ministry of Health, told Reuters today. The presence of H5N1 was confirmed by a WHO laboratory in Hong Kong, according to Kandun.

Reuters quoted an unnamed official at the Ministry of Health's avian flu center as saying, "There was a dead chicken near his house." The official said the chicken's cage was about 50 feet (15 meters) from the boy's house.

In other avian flu news, China reported a new H5N1 outbreak in poultry in its northwestern Ningxia region, according to a Jul 1 Associated Press story that cited Xinhua News Agency.

The outbreak was identified near Zhongwei city, the story cited China's Agriculture Ministry as saying. The ministry did not specify how many or what species of poultry were affected.

Ministry experts arrived in the area to control the outbreak, and local officials were disinfecting vehicles and people traveling in and out of the area, according to Xinhua, said the story. China has reported more than 30 outbreaks of avian flu in birds since October 2005.

And in Nigeria, an H5N1 outbreak has affected 20 poultry farms in the eastern state of Taraba, making it the 15th of Nigeria's 36 states to be affected, according to a local official as cited in a Jul 1 Agence France-Presse (AFP) story.

The presence of the H5N1 strain of avian flu was confirmed by a National Institute of Veterinary Research lab at Vom after last week's outbreak, according to AFP. Taraba abuts northern Cameroon.

"So far, 20 farms have been infected and chickens killed," said Yusuf Sanda, spokesperson for the state governor, in the AFP story. "The case has been taken over by the federal ministry of agriculture for containment and culling.

"The state government has set up a committee to look into the ways and means to assist the farmers. Veterinary experts have been sent to these areas to ascertain the damage and the extent of the spread."

Avian flu has been detected in several northern Nigerian states and in Nigeria's capital city, Abuja, according to the AFP story. More than 450,000 chickens have already been culled to stop the spread of the disease.

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