As we have learned over the weekend, the suspected bird flu death of 44-year old Linda Tismery of Pekanbaru, Riau Province, Indonesia, has been confirmed as H5N1. This is the second H5N1 death in a week for the nation of Indonesia; the first was a male 21-year old West Jakarta shopkeeper who apparently was exposed to chickens. The fact that, according to the Jakarta Post, some 26 deaths of the 87 now-confirmed H5N1 deaths in Indonesia come from the Greater Jakarta area (its capital) has apparently passed unnoticed.
Interesting. If you read that 26 deaths in, say, Atlanta, Georgia since 2005 were from bird flu, would you take the news passively? But I digress.
From the Jakarta Post:
Riau woman dies of suspected bird flu
- October 06, 2007
Rizal Harahap, The Jakarta Post, Pekanbaru
A woman believed to be suffering from bird flu died Friday morning in Pekanbaru, Riau province, after having received treatment in Arifin Achmad Hospital's isolation ward since Thursday.
The 44-year-old housewife, identified only as L, lived in a housing complex in Rumbai, Pekanbaru.
"The patient died at dawn. Our diagnosis indicated she was suffering from bird flu," the head of the hospital's bird flu mitigation team, Azizman Saad, told journalists Friday.
Before being transferred to Arifin Achmad Hospital, she had received treatment at several other hospitals in Pekanbaru.
"She was even treated at a hospital in Jakarta," Azizman said.
She was moved to Arifin Achmad Hospital after doctors at Awal Bros hospital noticed her symptoms were similar to those of bird flu victims.
"There is an indication her condition was detected late. As a consequence, she was already in bad shape when she was moved to this hospital," Azizman said.
Members of the woman's family declined to comment on whether she had come into contact with poultry recently.
L's death brings the number of bird flu fatalities in Riau this year to three. The other two victims lived in the Kampar and Indragiri Hulu regencies.
The Health Ministry confirmed Tuesday that a West Jakarta shop attendant died from bird flu last Friday, increasing the country's human death toll from the virus to 86.
Originally a disease carried by poultry, the H5N1 virus was first detected in humans in 1995 in Hong Kong.
Indonesia first reported human bird flu cases in 2005, but since has recorded the most human bird flu cases in the world at 107.
Now the Indonesian press is reporting that two of the nurses who attended to Ms. Tismery have also begun exhibiting bird flu symptoms. This translation is courtesy of Dutchy and Theresa42 of FluTrackers.com:
Pekanbaru -- the media: (the media): two nurses from hospital early bross Pekanbaru, on Monday (8/10), suffered fever after have handled the victim who died from positive bird flu b Linda Tismery, 44, that died on Friday (5/10) last in RSUD Arifin Ahmad, Pekanbaru.
The identity of the two, to now still was kept secret . Together 63 other immediate contact. the amalgam of the team body perusal and expansion the health (balitbangkes) the Department of Health RI and the health service (dinkes) Riau still did check and appropriation blood the serum all the contacts.
Two nurses victim bird flu putative infected
Written by: Rudi Kurniawansyah
PEKANBARU -- MEDIA: (Media): Two nurses Hospital Awal Bross Pekanbaru, Monday (8/10), experience fever after ever handle victim died positive bird flu Linda Tismery, 44, who died Friday (5/10) previously in RSUD Arifin Ahmad Pekanbaru.
Identities both, until now still kept in secret with 63 contacts nearest rest. Team combination Body Research & Pengembangan Health (Balitbangkes) Depkes RI and Department of Health (Dinkes) Riau still perform checkup/surveillance and take serum blood everyone contact aforementioned.
The nurses had duties over some 63 patients. All 63 are appearing to be OK, but the two nurses are quite ill. This is always a cause for concern, because human-to-human transmission is becoming less and less rare in Indonesia, and any preliminary report of health care staff becoming ill causes ashen faces and worried looks both in Jakarta and in Geneva.
According to "boots on the ground" health care workers, taken from from a previous blog, http://www.scottmcpherson.net/journal/2007/9/24/indonesian-cases-continue-to-pile-up.html :
"Bird flu in Riau is a horrible disease at the moment. Right now there were 23 bird flu cases (grand total, starting from 2005) 3 of them died. In the rainy season we have at the moment, the bird flu virus will circulate for three more months. The health service asked the whole society to watch out and be very carefull, especially the bird breeders.
"Then the "sub head" of the health service and a someone from the Riau Food Authority say this: ' There were extremely many bird flu cases in Riau, not only the 23. We will not know how much, because the cases were in the interior, dying from high fever is regarded as normal by the public'.
" We reported 23 cases, our take is there could be as many identical cases in the districts that were not reported". "Because of this we ask the whole community to watch out for this virus.
"People should go to a clinic or to the Health Service if they display symptoms especially sudden high fever, and get medication. The dedicated bird flu hospitals are: RSUD Arafin Ahmad, RSUD Dumai and RSUD Tembilahan."
So something is going on in Riau, where my count shows five confirmed cases of H5N1 have occurred this year, with four deaths, and five times that many suspected cases have been reported and treated as the Real Thing. Not a good sign at all. Now we have ill nurses and a deepening mystery.
The close physical proximity of Riau to Singapore, Malaysia, should also be a cause for concern. Singapore's luck won't hold out forever. Neither will the Philippines'.
Good news. The two nurses in question have tested negative for H5N1. That may lessen the anxiety over their patient's trip to Jakarta before her death.
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