Pekanbaru Teen in Critical Condition, Coma After Contracting Bird Flu
A17-year-old boy from Pekanbaru, Riau, is now in a critical condition after being infected with the deadly bird flu virus.
“The patient is in a critical condition and in a coma,” said Azisman Saad, head of the bird flu team at Arifin Achmad General Hospital in Pekanbaru.
Azisman said the boy, identified only as JF, was isolated in intensive care after suffering high fever and trouble breathing.
“He needs a breathing machine to survive,” Azisman said, adding that the provincial health agency had sent the boy’s blood sample to the Ministry of Health and the test result came back positive for H5N1 avian influenza.
Evy, one of the boy’s relatives, said the family did not know where JF could have contracted the virus because he had no history of direct contact with sick poultry.
Evy said JF fell into coma on Friday after experiencing some bird flu symptoms, including trouble breathing, fever and diarrhea.
Azisman said the hospital had handled two other positive cases of bird flu since December, both occurring in children below the age of 5. One of the patients died on Dec. 31, while the other was recovering and had been released from isolation.
Azisman said a 5-year-old girl from Indragiri Hulu died because she received treatment too late and was brought to the hospital in a very bad condition.
Tjandra Yoga Aditama, director general of communicable diseases at the Health Ministry, said 20 people had been confirmed as having contracted bird flu in 2009, of which 19 had died.
The findings meant Indonesia remained the country with the highest number of bird flu cases and fatalities. Since the outbreak first emerged in 2003, 137 people have died in Indonesia, while the virus has killed less than 300 people worldwide.