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Indonesia confirms new human case of avian flu
posted by admin on 15/08/06

The teenager is Indonesia’s 59th confirmed case based on local tests

JAKARTA: A teenager was confirmed yesterday as the latest bird flu case in Indonesia, the country worst hit by avian influenza with 44 human deaths recorded, health officials said.

The 17-year-old youth, who lives in an isolated area of West Java’s Garut district, has refused treatment at a hospital designated for bird flu cases, said Runizar Rusin, an official with the health ministry’s bird flu centre.

The teenager is Indonesia’s 59th confirmed case based on local tests, which are usually accurate, and his refusal typifies a lack of knowledge of the danger of the virus among Indonesians in rural areas, Rusin said.

“His test results, which I obtained today, show that he is positive with H5N1 (the deadly strain of the virus) but he is not hospitalised, as, being a villager living in an isolated area, he thought that he’s just suffering from ordinary flu after visiting a local health clinic,” Rusin said.

“But fortunately, the clinic took samples of his blood and saliva and sent them for testing and they came out positive.

“Now our team in the field are trying to take him to a hospital” in West Java’s main town of Bandung, he said.

The teenager had been in contact with dead chickens near his house before he became ill, he said.

Rusin said samples from the teenager were confirmed by the health ministry’s research and development laboratory and the US Naval Medical Research Unit laboratory in Jakarta.

Samples from his relatives and neighbours had also been taken for testing and a culling of poultry within a 1km radius of his house would be carried out soon, Rusin said.

His case comes after officials earlier this week confirmed the deaths of two teenagers from the virus, taking the number of human fatalities to 44 in Indonesia.

Meanwhile, Cambodia has suffered its second outbreak of bird flu this year in the same province where the H5N1 virus killed a boy in April, officials said yesterday.
The virus was confirmed in more than 1,300 ducks that died in Prey Veng province, 70km southeast of Phnom Penh, but there were no immediate reports of human infections, they said.
“Yes, bird flu is back,” senior Agriculture Ministry official Nou Muth said. “We have announced this outbreak to alert villagers not to handle dead poultry.”

Most of the more than 130 people killed by the virus, including six in Cambodia, have contracted the disease through close proximity to infected birds.

“Bird flu is still the hot issue for us. We are still worrying that villagers in the affected are might have been selling their chickens or ducks to others secretly,” Nou Muth said.

Several hundred domestic ducks, which can carry the H5N1 virus without necessarily showing symptoms, had been culled in within 3km radius of the outbreak, agriculture official Yim Vanthan said.

The world’s first first lab-confirmed human-to-human transmission of bird flu occurred in Indonesia three months ago in a cluster of seven deaths, sparking serious concern among scientists.

It raised the spectre of a dangerous viral mutation that may have permitted efficient transmission among people, bringing nearer a global human flu pandemic with the potential to killmns. But the slight mutation that took place was determined to be insignificant. – Agencies

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