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H5N1 Symptoms in North Sumatra Health Care Worker

Recombinomics Commentary

May 14, 2006

A nurse who attended to some of the patients also came down with an influenza-like illness, although she seems to have shown symptoms prior to treating the patients, according to Dr. Kandun. She and others in the family's village are currently being tested for the virus.

Symptoms in health care workers caring for H5N1 bird flu patients are cause for concern.  There are eight family members with birds lfu symptoms in a cluster in Medan, Indonesia.  Six of the family members have died and at least 5 members in the cluster have tested positive for H5N1.  This is the largest fatal cluster of H5N1 reported to date.

Media reports have indicated the hospital in Medan has 12 additional patients with bird flu symptoms.  The relationship of these 12 patients to the 8 family members (who live in Karo but were hospialized in Medan) remains unclear, as do the dates of admission.

The index case for the familial cluster died on May 4 and the family members were admitted on or about the same day.  It remains unclear when the additional 12 cases were admitted or if any of these patients had contact with the health care worker with symptoms.

More information on the HCW and the 12 additional patients would be useful.

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