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Ciptapangan Visitor
Four treated in Indonesia for H5N1 symptoms
posted by admin on 01/09/06

The official said that dead chickens had been found around their homes.

JAKARTA, Aug 31 (Reuters) - Four people have been admitted to an Indonesian hospital with bird flu symptoms in an area of West Java that has seen a series of confirmed and suspected cases in humans, officials said on Thursday.

At least two people in Cikelet, about 90 km (55 miles) south of the provincial capital of West Java, Bandung, have been confirmed to have died from the H5N1 virus in recent weeks.

"Three people with symptoms including breathlessness have been hospitalised since last night at Dr. Slamet hospital," said Hendi Budiman, head of administration at the Garut Health Office, the district where Cikelet is located.

"They come from Cikelet. Two are neighbours, but they are not related."

Yogi Prayogi, a spokesman at Dr Slamet hospital, said blood samples had been sent to Jakarta for testing.

"Three people showing symptoms will be allowed to return today. But they will be monitored," he said, adding that the three lived around chickens and dead fowl had been seen.

He said an 8-year-old boy with bird flu symptoms had also been admitted. Indonesia has so far recorded 60 bird flu cases, 46 of them fatal. The country's death toll is the highest in the world.

Separately, a local health ministry official said three out of five people admitted to hospital on Indonesia's Sulawesi island this week with bird-flu like symptoms were related.

"Three are related, they are cousins," said Ida Bagus Yadnya Putra, head of communicable disease control at the health ministry in Central Sulawesi province.

The official said that dead chickens had been found around their homes.

"They came to hospital to get medicine but refused to stay for treatment. They didn't come to the hospital at the same time. Now, they are getting better."

Blood samples from the five had also been sent to Jakarta for testing.

Fears that the virus had mutated into a form that could pass easily between humans heightened in May when seven people from an extended family died of the disease in Indonesia's North Sumatra.

Scientists worry that the H5N1 virus that has killed around 140 people and millions of birds since 2003 as it spread from Asia to Europe and Africa could mutate into a strain that could spark a human pandemic.

Indonesia has seen a steady increase in human bird flu deaths this year and the virus is endemic in poultry in nearly all of the provinces of the sprawling archipelago.

The country, which has been criticised for not doing enough to stamp out H5N1, has shied away from mass culling of poultry so far citing the expense and the logistical difficulties because of the millions of backyard fowl.

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