Nov 12, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – A 15-year-old Indonesian girl from central Java recently died from an H5N1 avian influenza infection, according to news reports that cited a local health official and a physician who treated the girl.
In June Indonesia's health ministry stopped reporting new H5N1 cases promptly, opting instead for periodic updates. Over the past few days media reports had said the girl's death was suspicious and that she lived near a poultry slaughterhouse, and today the Associated Press (AP) and Reuters reported that the girl had an H5n1 infection.
If the World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes the girl's infection, it will be listed as Indonesia's 138th H5N1 case and 113th death.
Agus Suryanto, head of the medical team that treated the girl at Doctor Karyadi Hospital in Semarang, told Reuters that health ministry labs confirmed that the girl died of an avian influenza infection. He told the AP that the girl was hospitalized 10 days before she died.
Tatik Suryanti, a local health official, told the AP that tests today from two laboratories were positive for the H5N1 virus.
According to a Nov 7 report from the Jakarta Post, Suryanto said the girl died on Nov 7 after having respiratory failure with a high fever. She was from Semarang, the Post reported.
In other developments, hospital officials in Bandung, Indonesia, are investigating the apparently pneumonia-related death of a 32-year-old who slaughtered chickens and kept backyard birds, according to a Nov 8 Post report.
Though initial tests on the man were negative for the H5N1 virus, Cissy Rachiana Prawira, director of Bandung's Hasan Sadikin Hospital, told the Post that further testing was ordered because he had direct contact with poultry.
Animal health officials tested about 500 chickens at the man's house, one of which tested positive for the H5N1 virus, the Post reported.
Indonesia's last two H5N1 victims—two men who died in July—were confirmed by the country's health ministry on Sep 9. Their H5N1 illnesses and deaths were recognized by the WHO on Sep 10.
The WHO's global H5N1 count is 387 cases and 245 deaths.