Indonesia reports H5N1 deaths; Egypt cites new case

Mar 19, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Indonesia recently announced two new H5N1 avian influenza deaths, and Egypt today said a 2-year-old boy tested positive for the disease, as the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed two other cases: a Laotian woman who died and a 10-year-old Egyptian girl who is recovering.

The first Indonesian fatality involves a 21-year-old woman from East Java who was previously reported to be ill with H5N1 avian flu on Mar 12, according to media reports. Health Minister Nyoman Kandun told the Associated Press (AP) she died today after 2 weeks in a hospital. A previous Reuters report said the woman had cleaned an area where a neighbor had dumped dead chickens.

Indonesia's second victim is a 32-year-old man who died Mar 14 in a Jakarta hospital, a doctor from the country's Bird Flu Information Centre told Agence France Presse (AFP) 2 days ago. Indonesia's health ministry said the man kept a parrot in his home and that no other suspicious influenza-like illnesses were reported in his neighborhood, AFP reported.

By the WHO's count, Indonesia has had 81 human cases of H5N1 illness, with 63 deaths. The WHO has not yet recognized these two cases or four previous cases reported by Indonesian officials since Jan 29. Those four cases involved a 15-year-old girl and a 30-year-old man, reported Feb 6, and a 22-year-old woman and a 9-year-old boy, reported Feb 12, who both died of the illness.

Officials in Egypt today announced that a 2-year-old boy tested positive for the H5N1 virus, Reuters reported. The health ministry said he was admitted Mar 16 to a hospital in Aswan, about 280 miles south of Cairo.

John Jabbour, a WHO official in Cairo, told Reuters the boy is in good condition and received oseltamivir within 24 hours of becoming ill. Egypt's health ministry said his family contacts are under medical observation, Reuters reported. If the boy's illness is confirmed by the WHO he will become the country's 26th case-patient.

Few details were available about the boy's exposure to sick poultry, but he is from the same area, Aswan governorate, as Egypt's latest previous patient, a 10-year-old who was confirmed by the WHO today as the country's 25th case-patient. She was hospitalized Mar 13 and is in stable condition, the WHO said. Investigators reported she had been exposed to sick poultry and that her contacts were under medical observation.

Jabbour told Reuters that there was no apparent link between the two Aswan cases.

Meanwhile, on Mar 16 the WHO confirmed Laos' second human H5N1 case, in a 42-year-old woman from Vientiane province who died Mar 4. At the time of her death, a WHO official told reporters the woman probably died from an H5N1 infection but that the test results weren't complete. She becomes the country's second case-patent and second person to die of the virus.

The woman, from Saka village, developed a fever on Feb 26 and was hospitalized 2 days later at Vientiane provincial hospital. She was transferred Mar 1 to Sethathirat hospital, where she died.

The WHO report said the woman's initial tests were handled by the National Centre for Laboratory and Epidemiology in Laos. Her samples were sent to a WHO collaborating lab in Tokyo for confirmation and further analysis.

Investigators found that a duck from the woman's household tested positive for H5, the WHO report said. Close family and hospital contacts are being monitored, but none have shown signs of infection.

The WHO said it would continue to work closely with the Laotian government to improve case reporting, diagnostic capacity, and community awareness of avian flu.

Poultry outbreaks continue
Meanwhile, three countries reported new outbreaks in poultry:

  • Thailand confirmed an H5N1 outbreak in chickens and ducks in the country's Mukdahan province, which borders Laos, Agriculture Minister Phirom Srichan told the AP today. The poultry deaths were first reported on Mar 9. The outbreaks are the first since late January, according to report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
  • Nigeria said yesterday that the H5N1 virus is circulating among poultry in Kano, northern Nigeria's largest city, AFP reported today. Shehu Bawa, head of Kano state's avian flu committee, told AFP the outbreaks have affected 33 farms in seven districts and that more than 80,000 birds have been culled. Nigeria's most recent outbreak occurred in late January at farms in Kaduna state, according to FAO records.
  • Kuwait officials announced 2 days ago that another chicken in the country has tested positive for the H5N1 virus, bringing the number of infected birds to 54 since the outbreak began in February, AFP reported today.

See also:

Mar 19 WHO statement

Mar 16 WHO statement

Feb 20 FAO summary

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