Andi Hajramurni and Suherdjoko
The Jakarta Post
Sat, 11/15/2008 10:59 AM
The Wahidin Sudirohusodo regional hospital in Makassar, South Sulawesi, is continuing to isolate 17 patients of Biringkanaya district believed to have bird flu.
“Generally the patients are getting better,” spokesperson for the hospital’s bird flu team, Halik Saleh, said Friday.
Apart from a 2 year old named Ilham, the body temperatures of all other patients have returned to below 38 degrees Celsius.
“We are continuing to observe their progress, particularly because some poultry has tested positive to bird flu contamination,” Halik said.
As a precaution, the hospital has been restricting staff and family members from visiting the patients in an effort to prevent any possible outbreaks of the disease.
The hospital, he said, is still waiting for the results of blood tests from the Health Ministry.
An initial test of all the patients’ blood has indicated the presence of the avian influenza virus, H5N1. The same test by the micro laboratory of Hasanuddin University’s School of Medicine in Makassar indicated the same results.
Halik said the hospital had decided not to use them as an indicator or reference for the illness.
“The only results we will refer to in order to treat our patients will be those from the laboratory of the health ministry’s research and development center,” he said.
The head of the Makassar Health Agency Naisyah Tun Azikin said all the samples required for testing had been sent to Jakarta on Thursday and Friday. The results should be known within a week.
Naisyah said in anticipation of a possible increase in suspected bird flu cases, his office had prepared two additional hospitals to treat them.
“Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God), none were admitted today,” Naisyah said Friday.
A team of representatives from various government institutions culled 61 birds on Friday from Sudiang subdistrict where all the patients came from.
Nurmayanti, from the government team, said the culling was carried out over three consecutive days and had destroyed a total of 167 birds.
She said the team would continue culling the area within a one-kilometer radius to ensure there was no poultry left alive within the region.
Meanwhile in Semarang, Central Java, authorities have closed three chicken abattoirs in Gayamsari district.
The closures were made by local residents after 15-year old Dewi Sartika died Tuesday from bird flu.
Chairman of Siwalan Community Empowerment Institution Agus Supriyoto said residents, including Dewi’s parents Sarjono and Sri Yakin, misinterpreted their daughter’s symptoms as ordinary fever.
They were unaware it was bird flu until staff from the provincial and municipal health agencies informed them Tuesday. The following day they held a meeting discussing poultry culling in the region, where many of the 500 families reside there keep birds as pets.
“We carried out the culling Thursday,” said Agus.
Here’s a summary of events so far:
— 7 patients were hospitalized on Nov. 12 and 10 more on Nov. 13.
— At least 6 have tested positive (for either influenza-A or H5N1, depending on the news report) and 3 have bronchopneumonia. (I can’t tell from the reports whether these 3 are among the 6 that tested positive or are 3 other patients.)
— According to some reports, all but 1 or 2 (a 6yo and a 2yo have been mentioned in different reports) are improving and are no longer running high fevers.
— One report mentioned that the patients were initially thought to be suffering from dengue fever.