Indonesia Bird Flu Death
Reach New High Of 51

By Yuli Tri Suwarni and Apriadi Gunawan
The Jakarta Post

Note - The apparent rapidity of infection reported in this story is cause for concern. If this
form of H5N1 indeed came from the dead chickens, it suggests a virulence and pathology
that are astonishingly fast. -ed
BANDUNG, Medan -- More possible cases of bird flu have been identified in families in West Java and North Sumatra, triggering fears of new disease clusters, as the national death toll hit a record of 51 Monday.
A 23-year-old male resident of Bandung died Sunday afternoon. His 20-year-old brother is in critical condition in an isolation room at Hasan Sadikin General Hospital.
"Based on the symptoms, we suspect they are a new cluster," said Fatimah Resmiati, the head of the environmental health department at the West Java health office, Monday.
Fatimah added that the elder brother died before he could be taken to a hospital for testing.
"Unfortunately, we don't have his blood sample," she said.his leukocyte (white blood cell) level was only 1,600 and he was suffering from heavy pneumonia, which is usually confirmed as positive."
The brothers' cousin said the brothers had fed their dogs dead chickens they bought from a nearby market.
He said the younger brother developed a flu-like fever and breathing difficulties last Monday after feeding the dogs. His older brother then fell ill. The doctor who practiced near their house, however, believed it was only ordinary flu.
As their conditions deteriorated, the brothers were taken to Santo Yusuf Hospital on Saturday night. They were transferred to Hasan Sadikin on Sunday because they were showing bird flu symptoms.
Hadi Jusuf, who leads the bird flu team at Hasan Sadikin, said the remaining brother's condition had worsened since he entered the isolation room.
"His leukocytes have continued to drop and the pneumonia in his lungs is more widespread. Because he has such difficulty breathing, we have attached him to a ventilator while giving him a high dose of Tamiflu," he said. Tamiflu, or oseltamivir, is a drug commonly used to treat bird flu.
West Java has recorded the highest number of bird flu cases with 21 victims, of whom 16 have died.
Meanwhile, five members of a family were being treated as suspected cases in Adam Malik Hospital in Medan, North Sumatera.
Two of the children were released Monday, but another of the family's children, R.S., 11, died last Monday. Hospital spokesman Sinar Periangin-Angin said the family was admitted Friday for high fever.
The cause of the fever was not clear, he said, but unusual chicken deaths had been reported within one kilometer of the family's house.
The hospital's deputy director, Nur Rasyid Lubis, said the rest of the family appeared to be recovering.
A ministry official, meanwhile, confirmed that the 9-year-old boy who died Friday in Jakarta was the country's 51st human fatality from bird flu.
The boy, believed to have had contact with sick chickens, died in a hospital nine days after he first showed symptoms of the virus, including high fever and difficulty breathing.
"By the time he arrived at the hospital, it was too late," I Nyoman Kandun, the Health Ministry's communicable disease director general, told AP.
Patricia A. Doyle DVM, PhD
Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural Economics
Univ of West Indies
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