Indonesia, Egypt report H5N1 cases

Apr 9, 2007 (CIDRAP News) –Indonesia and Egypt each have reported another human case of H5N1 avian influenza, the first in a 29-year-old man who died and the second in a 15-year-old girl, according to news services.

Indonesian officials reported the 29-year-old's fatal case Apr 7, saying he came from the town of Sukoharjo and died at a hospital in the Central Java city of Solo, according to a Reuters story. An Agence France-Presse (AFP) report said the man had had contact with a large number of dead chickens.

AFP reported that the man's case raised Indonesia's total case count to 94, one more than Vietnam, which has long been first on the list with 93 cases. The story put the number of Indonesian deaths at 74, far more than Vietnam's 42.

However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has not recognized any cases in Indonesia since late January and still lists the country as having 81 cases with 63 deaths.

The Indonesian government said the country needs to step ups its battle with avian flu, according to AFP. Speaking of the country's new status as having the most cases, Bayu Krisnamurthi, chief executive of the National Committee of Avian Influenza Control and Pandemic Preparedness, said, "We had hoped this day would never come."

In Egypt, officials reported the 15-year-old girl's case yesterday, according to a separate AFP story. The girl is from Cairo's Shubra district and was hospitalized Apr 5 with a high fever, health ministry spokesman Abdel Rahman Shahin told AFP. She had had contact with poultry.

Her case is Egypt's 34th, AFP reported. The WHO's count for Egypt is 32 cases with 13 deaths. The global WHO tally, last updated Apr 2, is 288 cases with 170 deaths.

In other developments, new poultry outbreaks of H5N1 were reported today in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

In Pakistan, the disease was found in the northwestern city of Abbotabad and the southern port city of Karachi, according to an AFP report quoting an Agriculture and Livestock Ministry spokesman, Mohammed Afzal.

A total of 600 chickens were destroyed on the two farms, which are small and isolated, Afzal said.

Pakistan had its first H5N1 outbreaks in March 2006, the story said. The virus resurfaced in early February in chickens in Rawalpindi, near Islamabad, and in peacocks in the northwestern city of Mansehra.

In Bangladesh, an outbreak was confirmed on another farm near the capital, Dhaka, triggering the culling of 3,000 chickens, according to an online report by the Qatar newspaper The Peninsula.

A government official said the outbreak was at Savar, where the virus first surfaced on six farms on Mar 22, according to the story. About 75,000 chickens on 27 farms have been destroyed since the outbreaks began.

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