Dec 9, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – The World Health Organization (WHO) today said that Indonesia's health ministry has notified it of two new human H5N1 avian influenza cases, a 9-year-old girl who has recovered and a 2-year-old girl who died.
The announcements come as health officials from Indonesia and other nations are meeting in Geneva this week to work on an agreement for sharing H5N1 virus samples.
The WHO said the 9-year-old girl from Riau province got sick on Nov 7, was hospitalized 5 days later, and was released from the hospital on Nov 27.
Few other details were available about the girl's illness. The WHO said an investigation into the source of the girl's infection revealed poultry deaths on Nov 2 at her family's home.
In the second case, the 2-year-old girl who died was from East Jakarta. The WHO said the girl got sick on Nov 18, was hospitalized 8 days later, and died on Nov 29.
The WHO said initial investigations indicate that the girl may have been exposed to the virus at a live bird market.
The two cases bring Indonesia's H5N1 case count to 139, including 113 deaths.
Today's statement from the WHO didn't address previous media reports on the death of a 15-year-old girl from central Java who—according to a local medical official and a doctor who treated her—died of an H5N1 infection on Nov 7. However, on Nov 13 Indonesia's health minister, Siti Fadilah Supari, denied reports that the girl had H5N1 and said tests from two laboratories came back negative, according to previous reports.
Indonesia has been hit harder than any other country by the H5N1 virus. However, the country has stopped sharing H5N1 samples to protest the lack of access to and affordability of avian influenza vaccines and treatments.
Indonesia also said in June that it would no longer promptly report H5N1 cases and would give only periodic updates. The country released its last update in early September.
Today's announcement of the two new Indonesian cases raises the global H5N1 count to 389 cases and 246 deaths.
Dec 9 WHO statement