Oct 10, 2011 (CIDRAP News) – Three Indonesian children have recently died from H5N1 avian influenza infections, including two siblings from the island of Bali, according to reports today from the media and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The WHO confirmed one of the deaths today, and its verification of the two from Bali would push Indonesia's H5N1 total to 181 cases, including 149 fatalities. The country has the most WHO-confirmed H5N1 cases and deaths in the world.
The first case involves a 1-year-old girl from the West Jakarta district of DKI Jakarta province, who died on Aug 25, the WHO said in a statement today. She got sick and was treated at a healthcare facility on Aug 8 then admitted to a private hospital on Aug 15.
An investigation into the source of her infection found that one of the girl's family members is a caterer who routinely processes poultry, including slaughtering, according to the WHO statement. Poultry was kept in the girl's neighborhood, but no chicken deaths had been reported within the 14 days before her illness.
Meanwhile, a hospital in Bali said yesterday that two children, a 10-year-old boy and his 5-year-old sister, died yesterday after a 2-day hospitalization, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) reported today.
The two children were admitted to Sanglah General Hospital in Denpasar on Oct 7 with H5N1 symptoms and placed in isolation, according to a Jakarta Globe story today. Though tests at the hospital were positive for the H5N1 virus, further tests are being conducted at Udayana University and at Indonesia's health ministry.
An official from the hospital said the children had direct contact with dead poultry in their home and had been treated at a local clinic before they were hospitalized, according to the Globe report.
Puto Sumantra, who heads Bali's animal health agency, told the paper that a team dispatched to investigate the poultry deaths found no sign of the virus on preliminary tests, though some of the carcasses have been sent for further lab tests. He added that the area has been disinfected and that samples have been taken from the childrens' family members.
The infections and deaths are Indonesia's first since early June and the first to strike the resort island of Bali since 2007. In August 2007, the WHO reported that the virus killed two women, ages 28 and 29. The younger woman was a poultry trader.
The virus was suspected in the death of the other woman's 5-year-old daughter, who had died about 2 weeks earlier.
WHO confirmation of the two infections and deaths of the Bali children would raise the global H5N1 total to 568 cases, including 334 deaths.
Oct 10 WHO statement
Oct 10 Jakarta Globe story
Aug 14, 2007, WHO statement
Aug 23, 2007, WHO statement
WHO global H5N1 case count