April 5, 2009

The following comments are from Crofsblog:
Via Bird Flu Information Corner, a report from Detik: Bandung, West Java ::: RSHS treated 2 bird flu suspect patients. Excerpt:
Two patients from Cipatat, Kabupaten West Bandung are treated at flamboyan room Hasan Sadikin hospital (RSHS) Bandung. Patients are family.
Head of Bird Flu Control, dr Hadi Yusuf said patient A (26) and F (14) were directed from public health center Cipatat. Patients had contact history with fowls.
“Birds suddenly died around patients neighborhood”, said Hadi.  Patients were admitted to the hospital with high fever and coughing signs. “No breathing difficulty found. They’re in good condition, and not equipped by breathing assistant device”, added Hadi.

As Mike Coston observes at Avian Flu Diary, we’re getting a lot of these translated reports from the Indonesian media. But they don’t seem to go anywhere. Some cases are locally confirmed. Others just disappear. Almost none of them get into English-language media like the Jakarta Post and Antara. The WHO table of confirmed H5N1 cases still shows zero cases in Indonesia for 2009.  From this distance it’s impossible to be certain, but it looks as if Dr. Supari and her government have done a good job of handling the media, not a cover-up, just a kind of media haze.

Reports continue to appear in local media, and the newshounds of Flublogia pick up on them. But follow-up reports are rare. The English-language media in Indonesia have lost interest in (or been discouraged from) reporting H5N1 stories. Most of the stories are just about poultry outbreaks, and when B2B H5N1 is endemic, what’s news about that?
The international media lack the interest or resources, or both, to send their own people to cover the story. Short of an obvious human-to-human outbreak, preferably among hospital staff and with plenty of deaths, international media will continue to ignore the story.

For years, logging and palm-oil planting have resulted in huge fires across Indonesia that put smoke into the skies all over southeast Asia. The neighbour states complain about it, but to little effect. Evidently the Jakarta government has learned a lot from that experience.