Three cases raise Indonesia's H5N1 count to 132

Mar 31, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Indonesia's health ministry today announced fatal H5N1 avian influenza infections in two young people, aged 11 and 15, and said a 22-month-old girl is hospitalized with an H5N1 infection.

If the World Health Organization (WHO) confirms the three cases, its human H5N1 count for Indonesia will reach 132 cases with 107 deaths.

Nyoman Kandun, director general of communicable diseases for Indonesia's health ministry, said one of the patients is a 15-year-old boy from Subang, West Java province, who died on Mar 26, according to a Reuters report today.

The boy's brother died recently, but Kandun told Reuters the deaths do not represent a family case cluster, because the brother died of dengue fever. No other details were available about the brother, such as whether health officials obtained and tested samples for the H5N1 virus.

Kandun said the 11-year-old girl died Mar 28 and was from Bekasi, east of Jakarta, according to the Reuters report. Some media outlets are reporting the girl's age as 12.

Kandun said dead chickens were found in the boy's neighborhood, but officials weren't sure if the girl had been exposed to sick or dead birds, Reuters reported.

The health ministry said today that a 22-month-old girl from Bukit Tinggi in West Sumatra has tested positive for an H5N1 infection, according to Reuters.

She was transferred to a bird flu specialty hospital on Mar 24 after she experienced a high fever and other suspicious symptoms, Agence France-Presse reported today.

Lily Sulistyowati, spokeswoman for Indonesia's health ministry, told Reuters the girl got sick on Mar 19 and is receiving treatment at a hospital in Padang, where her condition is improving.

Animal-health authorities are checking the girl's neighborhood to determine if she could have been exposed to infected backyard poultry, Reuters reported.

Indonesia leads the world in H5N1 cases and deaths. WHO confirmation of the latest illnesses will raise the global H5N1 total to 376 cases with 238 deaths.

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