WHO confirms Indonesia's 49th avian flu death

Sep 13, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – The World Health Organization (WHO) has retrospectively recognized another case of H5N1 avian influenza in Indonesia, involving a 5-year-old boy from West Java who died in March, according to news services.

The boy's death was added to the WHO case registry after the agency revised its definition of human H5N1 avian flu cases, according to a Bloomberg News report that quoted Sari Setiogi, a WHO spokeswoman in Jakarta. The agency had not yet noted the case on its Web site at this writing. With the boy's case, Indonesia has had 64 cases with 49 deaths.

Runizar Ruesin, head of the Indonesian government's avian flu information center, told Bloomberg the boy was from Bekasi, east of Jakarta, and died on Mar 19. Poultry deaths were reported in the boy's neighborhood, Ruesin said. No one else in the boy's family was known to be infected, and the source of his infection was unclear, according to a Reuters report today.

The boy's death is the fourth Indonesian avian flu case in 6 days to be retroactively reported by the WHO. Last week the organization added a 14-year-old girl who died in June and two cases, one of them fatal, from 2005.

In other news, British public health experts meeting at a conference in Coventry today demonstrated a new system called QFLU, one of the most extensive systems in Europe for collecting data on patients who have flu-like symptoms, according to a Reuters report today.

The system, aimed at improving Britain's pandemic preparedness, tracks how many patients seek care for flu-like symptoms and how many are prescribed antiviral drugs, the story said. It covers nearly 3,000 general practices and more than 17 million people.

The system is designed to analyze information daily instead of weekly, which would provide an early warning if a pandemic strain emerges. It was developed by surveillance experts at the UK Health Protection Agency, along with scientists from the University of Nottingham and EMIS, a British healthcare software developer.

See also:

Jun 22 Eurosurveillance article on QFLU
http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=2980

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