Indonesia reports new H5N1 death

Aug 4, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – An official from Indonesia's health ministry recently confirmed that a 19-year-old man died from an H5N1 avian influenza infection.

Nyoman Kandun, director general of communicable diseases at the health ministry, said the man died last week in a hospital west of Jakarta, according to an Aug 2 report from the Associated Press (AP).

The man, a cargo worker, died in Tangerang, a suburb of Jakarta, Xinhua, China's state news agency, reported yesterday. If his death and another reported last month are confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO), the man would be listed as Indonesia's 137th H5N1 case and its 112th death.

Media reports gave no details about the source of the man's infection or whether his personal contacts have undergone medical evaluation.

The confirmation of the man's death by an Indonesian health official appears to deviate from the country's recent policy of foregoing official announcement of H5N1 cases as they occur, opting instead for periodic updates. In early June, health minister Siti Fadilah Supari said the country would announce cases at longer intervals, perhaps as long as 6 months, according to previous reports.

Though Indonesia's stance appears to raise questions about its compliance with International Health Regulations, WHO officials have said its relationship with the country remains good and that the delay in reporting has not hampered the ability to conduct joint investigations into Indonesian H5N1 cases.

Healthcare workers and family members alerted the media about Indonesia's last H5N1 case, that of a 38-year-old man who reportedly died on Jul 10. However, a health ministry spokeswoman declined to confirm the case and said officials would release the information in an H5N1 case update at the end of July. No updates appear to have been posted on the government's health ministry or avian influenza Web sites.

Also, it's not clear if Indonesia has notified the WHO about the two cases. The WHO has not yet confirmed the illness and death of either man, so for now the group still lists Indonesia's case count as 135 cases and 110 deaths. Indonesia leads the world with the most H5N1 cases and fatalities.

The WHO's world H5N1 count stands at 385 human cases and 245 deaths.

See also:

Jun 5 CIDRAP News story "Indonesia quits offering prompt notice of H5N1 cases"

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