Another H5N1 death reported in Indonesia

Jul 18, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – A 38-year-old Indonesian man from a town near Jakarta recently died of H5N1 avian influenza, according to an Associated Press (AP) report citing his family and health workers.

Indonesia has said it will no longer immediately report new H5N1 cases and will instead provide periodic updates. However, details about the man's death were reported yesterday by the AP, which cited the man's brother-in-law and anonymous health workers as its sources.

Abdul Kadir told the AP that his brother-in-law died on Jul 10 after experiencing a high fever, coughing, and breathing difficulties.

"The doctor told us he died of bird flu. The tests came back positive from Jakarta," he said.

Lily Sulistyowati, a health ministry spokeswoman, told the AP she couldn't confirm the man's death. "But we'll let the public know when we release our report at the end of the month," she said.

Under the International Health Regulations, countries are obligated to promptly report human H5N1 influenza cases and other diseases regarded as a potential global health threat to the World Health Organization (WHO), which posts announcements about them and keeps an official count of illnesses and deaths.

However, it's not clear if Indonesia's health ministry has informed the WHO of the case. If the WHO recognizes the man's infection, it will be listed as Indonesia's 136th H5N1 case and 111th death.

Indonesia's last two H5N1 cases were confirmed by the WHO on Jun 19, and both reflected a delay in reporting the cases. The two patients were a 16-year-old girl who died on May 9 and a 34-year-old woman who died on Jun 3.

The 38-year-old man was from Belendung, a village 24 miles west of Jakarta, the AP reported. Residents of the area said ducks and chickens roam the streets freely, but none were reported sick or dead. Kadir told the AP that officials obtained blood samples from the man's relatives and neighbors and that they have not culled any birds.

The WHO's global H5N1 count is 385 cases and 243 deaths.

See also:

Jun 19 CIDRAP News story "Indonesia confirms 2 recent avian flu deaths"

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