Bird flu kills again, a 5-year-old toddler dies in Jakarta
Andra Soraya Ramadani dies a few days after a relative died from H5N1. For health officials, it is unclear whether she was infected by the young man or by diseased birds raised near home. Avian flu also strikes in Vietnam, Cambodia and China.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Health authorities in Indonesia on Friday reported a second human fatality from bird flu this year, with the death of a five-year-old girl. She had recently lost a relative to the same deadly virus.
Across Asia, especially in Southeast Asia, concerns about avian influenza have risen in the region after China in late December reported its first death from the H5N1 virus in 18 months. Vietnam on Thursday also reported its first human death from the virus in nearly two years. The virus also claimed the life of a toddler in Cambodia.
In Indonesia, the latest victim, Andra Soraya Ramadani, lived in the same house as Puguh Dwi Yanto, a 23-year-old relative who died of the virus on 7 January. The latter was a pet lover. Before he died, the report said, he had frequent contact with his pet doves and he once was spotted holding one of his sick doves.
After his death, health officials in the Indonesian capital took away some 200 doves from the housing compound where the dead man lived for further investigation and laboratory test. However, the authorities say there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission between the two infected people.
"The child passed away after being treated for a few days at a hospital," said Tjandra Yoga Aditama, the head of communicable diseases at Indonesia's health ministry. However, she was already showing the symptoms of the disease when Puguh Dwi Yanto died. How she contracted it is not clear. What is clear is that his strain of the H5N1 virus did not develop into other forms.
More than 580 cases of human infection from the H5N1 virus have been reported since 2003, World Health Organisation (WHO) data show, killing almost 350 people.
In Southeast Asia, Indonesia has been the hardest-hit by bird flu, with 150 deaths reported between 2003 and 2011. The cumulative number of bird flu cases in Indonesia since 2005 has reached 184 cases. Vietnam comes in second with at least 60 deaths.
(Mathias Hariyadi contributed to the article)