Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Supari : Indonesian Bird Flu Cases Down


# 2084




The following statements made by Indonesia's Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari might carry a bit more weight if Indonesia's track record of reporting human bird flu cases were better.   



For more than a year Indonesia has withheld bird flu virus samples from the WHO, and many observers have felt that human cases have been routinely under reported.  



Reading more like a public relations release than a news article, here is how Xinhua News is reporting the story.  




Minister: bird flu cases in Indonesia down 2008-06-19 09:25:51

    JAKARTA, June 19 (Xinhua) -- Indonesian Healthy Minister Siti Fadilah Supari said that in the last six months the number of cases of bird flu on human beings in Indonesia had declined significantly.



    In the beginning of the second semester of 2008, the number of the bird flu cases on human beings had dropped, and the number has even reached the lowest compared with those in 2005, 2006 and 2007,the Antara news agency on Thursday quoted the minister as saying in Medan, capital of North Sumatra province.



    The main cause of the decline in the bird flu cases on human beings is the fact that people have now become increasingly aware that one should do something as soon as he or she found out that he or she had the symptoms of being affected with this fatal virus Supari said on Wednesday.



    At present each regional administration has a guidebook on bird flu for distribution to all layers of the society.



    "Thank God, we already have a handbook on bird flu, and we also have the support from some other countries, including Australia, Germany, India, and China," she said.



    Bird flu, which started in Indonesia in 2003, has killed 109 people in the country, making it the most affected country by bird flu in the world.



While no new details are offered, Minister Supari assures us that the number of bird flu cases in Indonesia are down, and she gives the credit to having a bird flu guidebook for the populace. 




Exactly how having a guidebook - and having more people recognize the symptoms of bird flu early on -  would reduce the number of H5N1 infections isn't really explained.   


You'd think, if everything else remains equal, better awareness would result in more human cases being reported.  


Not less.


Sigh.  I guess I keep looking for logic in all the wrong places.