Three countries report H5N1 cases, deaths

Jan 19, 2012 (CIDRAP News) – The World Health Organization (WHO) today confirmed three new H5N1 avian influenza cases from Indonesia and Egypt, one of them fatal, a day after Vietnam's health ministry announced a death from the disease, its first in nearly 2 years.

Indonesia's newest case-patient is a 5-year-old girl from Jakarta province who died from her infection and is a family contact of a man who died from H5N1 on Jan 7, the WHO reported. The girl's illness was detected on Jan 7 during surveillance as part of the investigation into the man's infection.

She was referred to a hospital and began having breathing difficulties on Jan 13. The girl's condition worsened, and she died on Jan 16. The WHO said the girl had been exposed to the same pigeons implicated in the man's death and shared the same household environment. Surveillance of the patients' contacts hasn't found any more H5N1 infections.

The girl's illness and death raise Indonesia's H5N1 total to 184 cases, including 152 fatalities. The country leads the world in both categories.

One of Egypt's cases is in a 2-year-old girl from Cairo governorate who was treated for flulike symptoms as an outpatient at a hospital on Oct 30, according to a WHO statement. Her H5N1 infection was detected by Egypt's Central Public Health Laboratory during periodic screening of respiratory samples collected from outpatient surveillance sites.

An investigation into the source of her infection found she had been exposed to backyard poultry. The WHO said samples have been sent to the US Naval Medical Research Unit 3 (NAMRU 3) for further sequencing.

Egypt's other case is a 31-year-old man from Fayoum governorates who got sick on Jan 1, was treated with oseltamivir (Tamiflu) on Jan 14 and is still hospitalized in critical condition, the WHO said. He also had been exposed to backyard poultry.

The two new infections push Egypt's H5N1 total to 159 cases, which include 55 deaths. Egypt has the world's second-highest H5N1 case count and third-highest fatality total, behind Vietnam.

Meanwhile, a provincial health official in Vietnam said an 18-year-old man from Kien Giang province has died of an H5N1 infection, the Associated Press (AP) reported today. The official told the AP that the man, a worker on a duck farm, died on Jan 16, a day after he was hospitalized for fever and breathing difficulties.

Kein Giang province is in southern Vietnam's Mekong Delta region.

Neither of the two farms where the man worked had recently reported sick or dead poultry, according to the AP. Authorities are monitoring the man's contacts and collecting poultry samples. Vietnam's last H5N1 death was reported in April 2010, according to previous WHO reports.

If the WHO confirms this case, the global H5N1 tally would rise to 582 cases and 343 deaths.

See also:

Jan 19 WHO statement on Indonesian case

Jan 19 WHO statement on Egyptian cases

WHO global H5N1 count

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