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Cablegate: Avian Influenza - Alleged Ai Outbreak in North Sumatra

VZCZCXRO5404
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #1503 2200814
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 070814Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9732
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA
INFO RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHINGTON DC
RUEAWJB/DOJ WASHDC
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 7810

UNCLAS JAKARTA 001503

SIPDIS
UNCLASSIFIED

DEPT FOR EAP/MTS, G/AIAG, L/DL, EAP/EX, AND OES/IHA
USAID FOR ANE/CLEMENTS AND GH/CARROLL
DEPT ALSO PASS TO HHS/WSTEIGER/MSTLOUIS AND HHS/NIH
DEPT ALSO PASS TO DOJ for OFL
GENEVA FOR WHO/HOHMAN
USDA/FAS/OSTA BRANT, ROSENBLUM
USDA/APHIS ANNELLI

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO EAGR AMGT PGOV ID KLIG
SUBJECT: AVIAN INFLUENZA - ALLEGED AI OUTBREAK IN NORTH SUMATRA
LIKELY FALSE ALARM

1. (U) Recent press reports of a human avian influenza (AI) outbreak
in North Sumatra appear to be unsubstantiated. The AFP released an
article entitled "Bird Flu Outbreak in Indonesia Kills Three" on 6
August 2008. The article claims that three individuals from the
Asahan district died, with another thirteen undergoing treatment for
the malady. Bird flu was initially suspected because the illness and
deaths came on the heels of a spate of poultry deaths. Conversations
with administrators at Adam Malik Hospital and Asahan District
Hospital, as well as public health officials, indicate that the
individuals are probably suffering from another respiratory illness.
According to the AI coordinator for northern Sumatra, the fact that
the patients from the suspected cluster are improving with treatment
all but guarantees that the cases are not AI. World Health
Organization officers corroborate this finding.

2. (U) The Ministry of Health (MOH) has sent a rapid response team
to the area to investigate. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) staff are participating on this team. Samples from
those currently ill have been sent, but have yet to arrive at the
Indonesian government's National Institute of Health Research and
Development (NIHRD). No samples were collected from the deceased
individuals (contrary to press reports, only two people are believed
to have died) and they were not observed by trained medical
personnel prior to death. It is unclear if samples have been
collected from the poultry.

HUME

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