Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Indonesia: Suspected Bird Flu Outbreak



# 2209




I say `suspected'  because right now, we don't have any test results  to confirm the cause of this illness which has struck a village in North Sumatra.   



The symptoms are described as `bird-flu like', prompting the headlines. Early reports put the number of deaths at 3, with 13 others hospitalized.



If this should prove to be avian flu - and all of these cases are related -  this would be the largest known cluster in Indonesia and would rival the size of the Turkish cluster in 2006. 


Obviously this is a situation we need to watch closely, although we should keep in mind that early reporting can often be misleading.  


This report from the Straits Times.






Aug 6, 2008

3 dead in feared bird flu outbreak in Indonesia: officials



MEDAN (Indonesia) - THREE people have died and 13 have been admitted to hospital with symptoms of bird flu in Indonesia, a nurse treating the patients said on Wednesday.


Officials and residents in Asahan district of North Sumatra province said villagers began showing symptoms of avian flu after a large number of chickens died suddenly last week.


The nurse at Asahan district's Kisaran hospital said three people had died after suffering bird flu-like symptoms in Air Batu village.


'According to residents there, a number of chickens died suddenly last week followed by several pigeons. Days later, three people died with the same ailments,' the nurse, Mariana, said.


Another 13 people had been admitted to the hospital with 'high temperatures and respiratory problems,' she said.


Two of these - a baby boy and a seven-year-old girl - were transferred early Wednesday to a bird flu isolation unit at Adam Malik hospital in the provincial capital of Medan, officials said.


Adam Malik hospital spokesman Sinar Ginting confirmed that blood samples from the two children were sent Wednesday to a health ministry laboratory in Jakarta for analysis.


'We are now waiting for the result,' he said.


The father of the baby boy, Slamet Riadi, said a lot of poultry had died in the village a week ago. His baby developed a high fever and respiratory problems shortly afterward.


A spokesman for the health ministry could not be reached for comment.