- Indonesia's death toll from avian influenza has risen
to 6, and the government has ordered more than a half-million tablets of
anti-viral medicine to fight the disease, the Health Ministry announced
- 6 people have died and 10 others have been confirmed
with the virus -- though some of them have not shown any of its usual flu-like
symptoms, said I Nyoman Kandun, director general of Communicable Disease
Control at the Health Ministry. He said that 34 people have been hospitalized
with symptoms of avian influenza (H5N1 virus) across the country.
- Health Minister Siti Fadila Supari said 200 000 tablets
of the anti-viral drug oseltamivir, known commercially as Tamiflu, would
be available Tuesday and another 200 000 tablets by Friday. Supari said
that the medicine -- enough to treat 40 000 people at 10 tablets per person
-- showed that the government had things "under control." Tamiflu
is the only treatment so far proven effective against bird flu in humans.
- It was unclear if the 6 dead included a woman who was
suspected to have died of the disease on Monday [26 Sep 2005]. The 27-year-old
woman had been treated for symptoms of the virus [infection] since last
Thursday at the government-designated hospital for suspected bird flu cases,
said Dr. Sardikin Giriputro. Giriputro, the hospital's deputy head, said
initial tests at the hospital showed the patient had contracted bird flu,
but that further tests would be needed to confirm the diagnosis.
- The H5N1 strain of bird flu has swept through poultry
populations in large swaths of Asia since 2003, killing at least 65 people
and resulting in the deaths of tens of millions of birds. Most human cases
have been linked to contact with sick birds. But the World Health Organization
has warned that the virus could mutate into a form that spreads easily
among humans -- possibly triggering a global pandemic that could kill millions.
- The Australian government on Mon 26 Sep 2005 pledged
to help Indonesia speed up its response to bird flu, saying it will donate
enough anti-viral medicine to treat 40 000 people to its northern neighbor
to help it cope with the illness. Canberra had previously pledged 10 000
courses of the medicine to Indonesia. "They have been caught a bit
short to tell you the truth, and they're finding it difficult to handle,"
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer told reporters in Adelaide.
- Medication distribution was moving "a little more
slowly than we would have liked, but I think they're getting better organized
now," he said. It was not immediately clear if the 600 000 doses announced
by Indonesia included any of those pledged by Australia.
- Patricia A. Doyle, PhD
- Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message
- Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
- Go with God and in Good Health