Girl's death raises Indonesia's H5N1 toll

Jan 25, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Indonesia’s health ministry announced today that a 6-year-old girl recently died of H5N1 avian influenza, marking the country’s sixth case this year, according to news services.

The girl, from central Java, died 6 days ago in a Yogyakarta hospital, Ahmad Priyatna, an official with Indonesia’s bird flu information center, told Reuters. He said her neighbors reportedly had dead chickens.

If the girl’s case is confirmed by the World Health Organization, it will be counted as Indonesia’s 81st case and 63rd death.

Indonesia has had the most human cases of the several countries with recent avian flu outbreaks. Authorities are conducting a widespread backyard poultry cull in Jakarta to contain the disease.

Five people in Indonesia’s South Sulawesi province are hospitalized with possible avian flu symptoms, Kahlid Saleh, a physician who heads the avian flu ward at Wahidin Sudirohusodo hospital in Makassar, told Reuters today. The patients, 3 of whom are children, are improving, he said. All are from the same neighborhood, where chicken deaths had been reported.

In Thailand, 12 children and 1 man from Phichit and Ang Thong provinces are under watch after they became ill following suspicious chicken deaths in their areas, the Bangkok Post reported today. Eight of the children experienced high fevers after a chicken carcass was found in their schoolyard.

Meanwhile in Nigeria, health officials are investigating two suspected human H5N1 cases, AllAfrica news reported today. A mother and daughter from Lagos, Nigeria’s largest metropolitan area, on the country’s southwest border, died within 2 weeks of eating chicken bought from a live-chicken market during the holidays. The father of the family said that after one of the chickens they bought died mysteriously, the family slaughtered the rest.

A WHO official told AllAfrica news that he was aware of the case and the WHO was awaiting test results on the woman, her daughter, and a chicken.

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