Indonesia reports H5N1 case; Vietnam cites probable one

May 23, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Indonesia announced today that a 5-year-old girl died of H5N1 avian influenza, while a hospital official in Vietnam reported that a 30-year-old man is being treated for the disease, apparently marking the country's first human case in a year and a half.

Joko Suyono of the Indonesian health ministry's avian flu center said the young girl died on May 17, according to a Xinhua news report today. She was taken to a doctor on May 8 and was hospitalized May 15 in Solo, Central Java, the report said.

The girl reportedly had contact with infected birds, health ministry official Muhammad Nadhirin told the Associated Press (AP) today. About 20 birds had recently died near her home, the AP report said.

If her case is confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO), she will be listed as Indonesia's 97th case-patient and 77th fatality. Indonesia leads the world in the number of human H5N1 cases and deaths.

The WHO announced May 16 that it would accept H5N1 test results from Indonesia's newly accredited national laboratory. Before that, the agency had refused to confirm any cases reported by Indonesia since late January, because the country had stopped sending viruses to WHO collaborating labs in December.

Meanwhile, a 30-year-old man from Vietnam's northern province of Vinh Phuc, about 35 miles from Hanoi, tested positive for H5N1 infection at a Hanoi hospital, where he continues to be treated, the AP reported today. Tran Quy, director of Bach Mai hospital, told the AP the man tested positive 3 days ago.

Samples from the patient will be shipped to a WHO lab for analysis, said Hans Troedsson, a WHO official in Vietnam, according to a Canadian Press (CP) report today. Vietnam's hasn't had a human H5N1 case since November 2005, but Troedsson said the case is "not really a surprise," given the known risk of H5N1 transmission from birds to humans.

Quy told the AP, "The man is in a critical condition. He has a high fever, difficulty breathing, coughing, and the x-ray of his lung was completely white. All of these are typical bird flu symptoms."

The man was hospitalized last week; relatives reported he fell ill after helping prepare chickens for a wedding reception.

If his infection is confirmed, it will be the country's 94th case. With 93 confirmed cases and 42 deaths, Vietnam has the world's second highest H5N1 toll.

Vietnam had a lull in human cases and poultry outbreaks through most of 2006, during which the country was praised for its H5N1 virus control efforts. The virus resurfaced among ducks in several central Mekong Delta and central provinces in December and January. In early May the country began reporting a new rash of poultry outbreaks throughout the country.

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