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Indonesia bird flu toll rises
posted by admin on 09/08/06

World Health Organisation Reports

Indonesia has reported its 43rd human bird flu death which, if confirmed by the World Health Organisation, would give it the world's highest death toll.

Local tests, which are usually accurate, show that a 16-year-old boy died of the disease on Monday night, health ministry officials said.

Indonesia has registered more bird flu deaths this year than any other nation. Vietnam has also been badly affected, suffering 42 deaths, but the outbreak there seems to be under control.

No one has died from the disease in Vietnam since the beginning of 2006.

The latest suspected bird flu victim was from Bekasi on the outskirts of Jakarta. He was admitted to the city's designated bird flu centre, Sulianti Saroso hospital on Saturday and his condition rapidly deteriorated.

Health officials said he had been in contact with sick chickens before he contracted the disease.

Transmission from poultry is the main cause of human bird flu, but there is a fear that the virus could mutate to a form which could be easily passed from human to human, triggering a pandemic and potentially putting millions of lives at risk.

Globally, more than 130 people have died of bird flu since late 2003. Most of the deaths have been in East Asia, but the virus has also spread to Europe, Africa and South and Central Asia.

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