World Health Organization Issues Update on Avian Influenza Infection in Indonesia

As reported by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Ministry of Health in Indonesia has confirmed an additional six cases of human infection with the H5N1 avian influenza virus. Three of these cases were fatal.

None of the newly confirmed cases is associated with the family cluster in Karo, North Sumatra; the cases are widely dispersed geographically.

One newly confirmed case is an 18-year-old man from East Java Province. He developed symptoms on May 6, 2006 and was hospitalized on May 17, 2006. He is now recovering. The investigation found a history of exposure to dead chickens in his home within the week prior to symptom onset. No further cases of influenza-like illness have been identified during the investigation and monitoring of his close contacts.

Two additional cases occurred in a 10-year-old girl and her 18-year-old brother from Bandung, West Java. Both children developed symptoms on May 16, 2006, were hospitalized on May 22, 2006 and died on May 23, 2006. Both children had a history of close contact with sick and dying chickens at their home in the week before symptom onset. The identical onset dates strongly suggest that they acquired their infection following a shared exposure to poultry, and not from each other. Follow-up of contacts has not identified further cases of influenza-like illness.

An additional case occurred in a 39-year-old man from West Jakarta. He developed symptoms on May 9, 2006 was hospitalized on May 16, 2006, and died on May 19, 2006. The investigation determined that the man cleaned pigeon feces from blocked roof gutters at his home shortly before symptom onset. No further potential source of exposure was identified.

The remaining two patients are a 43-year-old man from South Jakarta, who developed symptoms on May 6, 2006, and a 15-year-old girl from West Sumatra, who developed symptoms on May 17, 2006. The 43-year-old man has recovered and been discharged from hospital. The 15-year-old girl remains hospitalized. The sources of exposure for these two cases are under investigation.

The newly confirmed cases bring the cumulative total in Indonesia to 48. Of these cases, 36 were fatal.

Source: World Health Organization (WHO)