6 With H5N1 Symptoms
Admitted To Jakarta Hospital

From Patricia Doyle, PhD
Xinhua News Agency
6 Indonesian residents, including 4 children, have been admitted to a hospital with avian influenza symptoms, spreading fears of a major outbreak of the deadly disease in the world's fourth most populous nation.
The 6 patients have been undergoing intensive treatment at the Sulianti Saroso Hospital, which is a specialized hospital for infectious diseases in North Jakarta, according to a local Detikcom online report on Tue 20 Sep 2005. The latest patient is a 3 year old child who suffered from high fever and respiratory problem. An employee with the Jakarta-based Ragunan Zoo, where several wild fowl have been infected by avian influenza, is also being treated at the hospital.
The government on Monday declared an "emergency situation" caused by the avian influenza outbreak following the 4th human fatality and the growing number of patients with avian influenza symptoms. Under the emergency situation status, people who show avian influenza symptoms can be forcibly hospitalized, with the government paying all financial expenses, minister of health Fadilah Supari said.
The government has allocated the equivalent of 15.8 million US dollars in an anti-bird flu program, but more funds will be needed, the minister said. The Jakarta administration has temporarily closed the Ragunan Zoo after the discovery of infected birds and ordered all of its employees to undergo medical tests.
As of today, only 2 of the presumptive cases of avian influenza in Indonesia have been confirmed by laboratory testing as genuine cases of avian influenza A (H5N1) virus infection. Of the 6 patients currently in hospital in Jakarta with avian influenza symptoms, perhaps the zoo employee is the most likely to be confirmed. In the present circumstances, the threat by the government of forcible hospitalization of suspected bird flu cases might seem to be an over-reaction; the most important measure is containment of animal disease. Mod CP
Patricia A. Doyle, PhD
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