Indonesia logs 4 H5N1 cases; death toll reaches 100

Jan 28, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Indonesian authorities have reported four new human cases of H5N1 avian influenza, two of them fatal, raising the country's death toll from the virus to 100.

A 23-year-old woman from East Jakarta died of avian flu yesterday, and a 9-year-old boy from Jakarta's outskirts succumbed to the disease today, according to a Reuters report.

News reports offered no details about the woman. The health ministry said the boy died at Sulianto Saroso Hospital after 4 days of treatment, according to a Bloomberg News report. Joko Suyono, a health ministry official, said investigators were heading for the boy's neighborhood to try to find out how he was infected, the story said.

The other two new cases are in a 31-year-old woman and a 32-year-old man, both of whom are in Jakarta's Persahabatan Hospital, according to the Reuters and Bloomberg reports.

The woman lives near a poultry slaughterhouse in East Jakarta, Reuters reported. The man is from Tangerang, a western suburb of Jakarta, and is believed to have contracted the virus from a neighbor's pet doves, the story said.

If all four cases are recognized by the World Health Organization, the count for Indonesia will rise to 124 cases with 100 deaths. The four cases bring the country's total this month to seven, including five deaths. Indonesia has had more cases than any other country; Vietnam is second, with 102 cases and 48 deaths.

The WHO's global H5N1 count is 353 cases with 221 deaths.

Suyono told Reuters there was no obvious explanation for the recent surge of cases in Indonesia. "We need to carry more tests and investigation first to be really sure," he said.

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