This article sent me over the edge when I read it. It’s from CIDRAP.
Indonesia rules out H5N1 case cluster in Sumatra
Aug 13, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – In an online statement posted yesterday, the Indonesian government said 12 villagers from North Sumatra who were hospitalized for suspected avian influenza symptoms had tested negative for the disease, dampening speculation about a possible case cluster.
The statement from the health ministry’s avian flu committee, known as KOMNAS FBPI, was dated Aug 9, but appeared on the group’s Web site yesterday. It said 12 villagers from Air Batu village tested negative for the H5N1 virus. All were being treated at Kisaran Hospital, except for a 7-year-old girl and an 8-year-old boy who were at Adam Malik Hospital in Medan, the provincial capital, where they were reported to be in stable condition.
The ministry’s statement did not mention three deaths from suspicious symptoms that have been mentioned along with accounts of up to 13 sick patients in recent media reports. Yesterday, however, Chandra Syafei, an official from North Sumatra’s health office, acknowledged that three people had died and said his office was on “extraordinary occurrence” alert status, according to a Jakarta Post report.
“The three people died following the discovery of dead poultry, but we don’t know whether or not it [avian influenza] was the cause,” Chandra told the Post. He said his office had not received autopsy reports from the health ministry.
The suspected cases were identified by provincial and local health officials between Aug 5 and 7, and the patients were given oseltamivir when they were hospitalized, the health ministry’s statement said. Also, it said the ministry was conducting surveillance in the area for more patients with suspicious symptoms.
The ministry’s message, its first since Jun 19, said the tests were conducted by its Health Research and Development Center. Official news out of Indonesia about H5N1 developments has been scarce since early June, when Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari said the country would stop reporting human cases as they occur and instead announce them at longer intervals, perhaps as long as 6 months.
Meanwhile, flu blogs and message boards have been following developments in what some fear could represent an H5N1 case cluster, an event that suggests the possibility of human-to-human transmission and an increased risk of a pandemic. For example, members of Flu Trackers and Flu Wiki have been translating foreign-language media reports for clues and developments, though the translations are often difficult to interpret and can be unreliable.
First, they failed to mention any speculation of what the villagers were infected with. It wasn’t H5N1, we know it was Dengue as they speculated earlier. So what the hell were they infected with, that got WHO and every concievable agency in N. Sumatra? We do know 3 new suspect bf patients surfaced. This is a sign that the Tamiflu wasn’t as effective. We can surmise that all the villagers tested, were treated with Tamiflu first than tested, which is standard procedure with these people. Negative or as we call it, false negatives looks better in the press, than postive for H5N1.
Folks this is denial in the worst way, and it’s gonna jump up and bite us in the butt! SARS was denied as being a problem. Everyone was surprised whenit bit butt!! We believed things were under control because the Chinese media said so. What a hard lesson we’ve learned. Media contol is denial, and that spells pandemic in my book. What they don’t take into consideration, is that there are people who have been translating these articles for along time, and have gotten good at interperting. Sometimes we get translations that make no sense what so ever. Those are few and far between. Unreliable? Few and far between. We get enough clues teased out from the translations to make a picture with some light shed. The reporters leave out basic details that could really help give a clearer picture. So for the Indo translators, they do a great job with what they have to work with. They tease out the picture for us to see. Without them, we wouldn’t have a clue as to what’s going on. The translators who have been at this for 2 years on, my hat is off to you. So yes, I felt that was a cheap shot at the flu community.
They would love it if the flu communtiy just packed up and went home. They would love to not have to refute our questioning of their truth. That statement makes it sound as if we are getting it all wrong. Ha! Time will tell Spin Doctors.
cottontop really frustrated but still prepping