Man's death raises Indonesia's H5N1 toll to 85

Sep 6, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Indonesian health ministry officials today reported a fatal H5N1 avian influenza infection in a 33-year-old man from the island of Sumatra.

Joko Suyono, an official at the health ministry's avian flu center, said the man was from Riau province and had contact with chickens before becoming ill on Aug 25, according to Xinhua, China's state news agency. "He processed chicken that he bought from a nearby market," Suyono told Xinhua.

The man, a plantation worker, was hospitalized 10 days ago with a high fever, a cough, and breathing difficulties, Arman Zubair, another health ministry official, told the Associated Press (AP) today. He said the man previously seemed to be recovering, but his infection worsened suddenly and he died today, the AP reported.

If the case is confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO), it will go down as Indonesia's 85th avian flu fatality and 106th case. Indonesia has the world's highest toll of H5N1 cases and deaths. The WHO's global H5N1 count is 327 cases with 199 deaths.

Animal-health experts believe the H5N1 virus has become endemic in poultry in some parts of Indonesia. In August, the country's resort island of Bali reported its first two human H5N1 cases, both fatal.

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