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Influenza in Tsunami-affected Areas

Recombinomics Commentary
January 9, 2005

>>Meanwhile, Boutroue said that sanitation was becoming an increasing concern for those who had reached the safety of camps as earlier warnings of a second wave of disease started to manifest in small outbreaks.

In Meulaboh, the Indonesian Red Cross said its was already treating scores of people, including many children, for diarrhoea, rashes and influenza at a secondary school that has been turned into a relief centre for 2,000 people.

"If there is poor hygiene and poor sanitation, I'm afraid we will see more cases of communicable diseases," said Red Cross spokesman Desi.<<

The small outbreaks of influenza in Meulaboh are cause for concern.  There had been earlier avian influenza outbreaks in poultry in Indonesia, and H5N1 outbreaks in Thailand recently.  The H5N1 in Thailand was associated with a case fatality rate of approximately 70%

A similar virus has recently infected Vietnamese in the Mekong Delta with a similar case fatlity rate, which was also about 70% last season.  Concern in Vietnam centers on ducks in Mekong Delta.  Almost half of the samples from these ducks are H5N1 positive, and there is significant movement of poultry at this time of the year in preparation for the Lunar New Year,  In addition, bird if is killing pets  in Ho Chi Mihn City.

The have also been reports of fatal flu cases in Mullaittivu, which is in the northeast corner of Sri Lanka.

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