Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara. Two people suspected to have contracted the H5N1 strain of avian influenza are being treated at West Nusa Tenggara General Hospital in Mataram.
The two patients were identified as 11-month-old Muhammad Aditya from Praya in West Lombok district and 53-year-old Inaq Sahnun from Pringgarata in Central Lombok district.
Mentari, Sahnun’s daughter-in-law, said that two days earlier Sahnun began running a fever, had a cough and shortness of breath. She was taken to a hospital in Praya where she was placed under observation for two hours before being sent to Mataram for suspected bird flu.
“The doctor at Praya suspected [Sahnun] had contracted bird flu, but said further tests were needed,” Mentari said.
Sahnun’s house is located in an avian influenza-endemic area, where more than 400 chickens were reported to have died suddenly. Preliminary findings suggest the cause of death may have been bird flu.
Sahwan, the father of Aditya, the other patient, said his son had been running a fever for two days. He said he brought Aditya to a public heath center in Pringgarata before taking him to Mataram.
Sahan, the infant’s grandmother, said he often played with the around 100 chickens that the family raised at their house. Twenty of the chickens died suddenly in the past week, also suspected to be from bird flu.
“Besides, Aditya’s father’s chickens, many of the neighbors’ chickens are also dying, even today,” she said. “Hundreds have already died in that area.”
Sahan added that Sahwan was a temporary worker with the local livestock agency and had in recent weeks been helping spray disinfectant in chicken pens and educating residents on how to respond to a suspected bird flu outbreak.
“He explained to them that they should bury or incinerate the dead poultry, but many residents continue to just dump the dead birds in open drains,” she said.
The two patients were brought to the hospital on Saturday afternoon and have been isolated from other patients. Aditya, however, was accompanied in his room by his mother, who wore a face mask.
Both Aditya and Sahnun have been put on intravenous drips as doctors await the arrival of a special team dealing with human bird flu cases.
There has been a sudden increase in the number of poultry dying unexpectedly in Lombok in the past fortnight, with thousands reported dead in Central Lombok district and Mataram.
The spike comes as the neighboring resort island of Bali also grapples with a surge in poultry deaths attributed to bird flu. Two children were confirmed to have died from the disease there earlier this month.http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/two ... ram/471993