Mar 29, 2007 (CIDRAP News) - Indonesia today reported two new suspected human cases of H5N1 avian influenza, both fatal, as the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed a case in China that was reported yesterday.
Indonesian officials said initial tests indicated H5N1 infection in a 14-year-old boy who died in West Sumatra province on Mar 24 and a 28-year-old woman from central Jakarta who died yesterday, according to Xinhua, China's state news agency.
Haris Subiantoro of Indonesia's health ministry told Xinhua that chickens in the boy's neighborhood died suspiciously 2 weeks before the boy got sick. The Associated Press listed his age as 15. Subiantoro said it was not clear if the woman had any contact with infected birds.
Officials are waiting for the results of second tests to confirm the cases, Subiantoro told Xinhua.
By the WHO count, Indonesia has had 81 H5N1 cases with 63 deaths. But since Jan 29, Indonesia has reported at least nine cases (besides those reported today) that have not yet been recognized by the WHO; seven of those were fatal. The nine cases include three reported Mar 27 in which further test results were awaited.
Indonesia agreed 2 days ago to resume sharing its H5N1 virus samples with the WHO, under certain conditions designed to give the country control over which vaccine manufacturers get access to seed viruses made from the samples.
Also today, the WHO confirmed that a 16-year-old Chinese boy from Anhui province died of H5N1 illness. The WHO report said he developed fever and pneumonia-like symptoms Mar 17, was hospitalized 3 days later, and died Mar 27. He becomes China's 24th H5N1 case-patient and its 15th fatality from the disease.
Investigators have found no indication he had contact with sick birds before he became ill, but health officials are still tying to identify the source of his infection, the WHO report said. His close contacts are being monitored and remain well.
With confirmation of the Chinese case, the WHO's global H5N1 count reached 285 cases with 170 deaths.
Mar 29 WHO statement