Feb 6, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Two new human cases of H5N1 avian influenza were announced by Indonesia's health ministry today, as the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed Egypt's latest case.
One of Indonesia's patients is a 15-year-girl from an upscale Jakarta neighborhood who caught a wild bird that died 2 days later, Joko Suyono, a spokesperson for the health ministry's bird flu information center, told Reuters today. He said the other patient is a 30-year-old man from West Java province neighborhood where chicken deaths had been reported.
If the WHO confirms the patients' avian flu status, they will become Indonesia's 82nd and 83rd cases.
Avian flu has taken a heavy toll on Indonesia already this year; the disease has claimed six lives. To slow the spread of the disease, Indonesian authorities banned backyard poultry in Jakarta and planned to begin a massive cull throughout the urban area on Feb 1. However, it's not known if any progress has been made because of widespread flooding in the city, according to several media reports.
Meanwhile, the WHO today confirmed a 17-year-old Egyptian girl's death from avian influenza. The girl was from Fayyoum governate, about 60 miles south of Cairo. She developed symptoms on Jan 25 and was initially treated for seasonal influenza. On Feb 1 she was hospitalized with fever and breathing difficulties and died the next day, the WHO reported. The girl becomes Egypt's 20th case and its 12th death.
An initial investigation found that there were sick and dead poultry in the girl's home before she got sick, the WHO said.
In other avian flu news, officials at Britain's Health Protection Authority announced today that a man who helped respond to a recent H5N1 outbreak at a turkey farm in Suffolk was hospitalized today with a mild respiratory illness and is undergoing tests, the Associated Press reported.
Britain's first H5N1 outbreak claimed 2,500 turkeys and led to the culling of about 150,000 others.
Agriculture officials in Pakistan today announced an H5N1 avian flu outbreak in poultry in a town near the capital Islamabad, Reuters reported. The outbreak involved 40 chickens at a home, and all died or were culled, Mohammad Afzal, Pakistan's livestock commissioner, told Reuters.
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Pakistan's last confirmed outbreak occurred in April 2006 and affected domestic poultry. The country has reported no human cases.
Feb 6 WHO statement
Nov 22, 2006, FAO avian flu bulletin with chart of H5N1 outbreaks by country