Deaths raise Indonesia's H5N1 fatality count to 97

Jan 18, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Indonesia's health ministry said today that an 8-year-old boy died of H5N1 avian influenza, the same day the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that a 16-year-old Indonesian girl—previously confirmed one of the country's H5N1 case-patients—died of the disease.

The boy, who was from Tangerang, a suburb just west of Jakarta, died today after one day of treatment in the hospital, the ministry said in an e-mail statement, according to a Reuters report. If the boy's illness and death are confirmed by the WHO he will be listed as Indonesia's 119th case-patient and its 97th H5N1 fatality.

He had a fever and was first diagnosed as having dengue by doctors at a local hospital, the boy's father told an Indonesian news Web site, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported today. After the doctors determined the boy had the H5N1 virus, he was transferred to a hospital in Jakarta where he died a few hours later, the AFP report said.

Sudhara Ningrum, of Indonesia's bird flu center, told AFP that chickens had died suddenly near the boy's house, but officials have not received a report on whether samples from the birds tested positive for the H5N1 virus. The health ministry said that the boy's neighbor ran a chicken slaughterhouse and that it was investigating the source of the boy's illness, according to Reuters.

Also today, the WHO released a statement confirming the H5N1 death of a 16-year-old girl from Bekasi, another suburb of Jakarta. The girl died on Jan 15, the WHO reported. She was previously listed as Indonesia's 117th case-patient, and her death has now been recorded as the country's 96th fatality.

The girl got sick on Dec 30 and was hospitalized 5 days later, according to previous reports. Chickens in her neighborhood had reportedly died 2 weeks before she became ill.

Several of Indonesia's recent H5N1 case-patients and deaths are from suburbs of Jakarta. The 8-year-old boy is the seventh person from the Jakarta suburb of Tangerang to die of the disease since October, according to the AFP report. Though health officials banned backyard poultry in Jakarta in early 2007, the rules and a plan for culling have been difficult to enforce.

The girl and the boy are the second and third Indonesians to die of H5N1 infections in 2008. On Jan 14, the health ministry reported that a 32-year-old woman from Tangerang died of the disease on Jan 10.

See also:

Jan 18 WHO statement

Jan 11 CIDRAP News story "Woman's illness raises Indonesia's H5N1 total to 117"

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