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Indonesian Woman Dies of Bird Flu
posted by admin on 29/11/06

An Indonesian woman died of bird flu early Tuesday, raising the country's death toll to 57

Associated Press
November 29, 2006

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- An Indonesian woman died of bird flu early Tuesday, raising the country's death toll to 57, a hospital official said.

The 35-year-old woman died after being treated for almost three weeks in a hospital in Jakarta, said spokesman Sardikin Giriputro. Health officials were still investigating the source of infection.

Health Ministry tests confirmed on Nov. 13 that the woman from the city of Tangerang, on the western outskirts of Jakarta, was H5N1 positive.

The disease has killed at least 153 people world-wide since it began ravaging Asian poultry stocks in late 2003, with more than a third of human deaths in Indonesia, according to the World Health Organization. Most of those killed have been infected by domestic fowl, but WHO fears the virus could mutate into a form that easily spreads among humans, sparking a pandemic with the potential to kill millions.

Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous country and home to millions of backyard chickens, would be vulnerable under such conditions.

The government came under fire for moving slowly to stamp out the virus when it first appeared in chickens and ducks, but it since increased vaccinations and slaughtering of birds in infected areas.

South Korea Reports New Outbreak

South Korea reported a new outbreak of bird flu Tuesday, as hundreds of dogs and pigs were to be slaughtered in a bid to stem the spread of the deadly disease, officials said. The new outbreak was caused by a "highly pathogenic" type of the virulent H5N1 strain, and occurred near the site of a recent outbreak in Iksan, an official from the Agriculture Ministry said in Seoul.

The ministry last week confirmed bird flu at a farm in Iksan, about 250 kilometers (155 miles) south of Seoul, prompting quarantine officials to order the culling of hundreds of thousands of poultry, dogs and pigs. (See related article)

The slaughter of 677 dogs and 300 pigs was scheduled for Tuesday, but a lack of available workers could mean a delay, a city official said on condition of anonymity, saying he was not authorized to speak to media. Dogs bred on farms for consumption will be slaughtered, Park Kyung Hee, an official at Iksan city hall said.

Another city official, who asked not to be identified because he wasn't authorized to speak to media, said "dogs raised individually in houses will also be subject to slaughter."

About 236,000 chickens are also planned for slaughter and six million eggs will be destroyed, the Agriculture Ministry has said.

International experts have questioned the necessity of killing non-poultry species to stem bird flu's spread, but South Korean officials said such a step wasn't unusual -- and has been taken in other countries without public knowledge.

Since ravaging Asia's poultry in late 2003, the H5N1 virus has killed at least 153 people world-wide. Infections among people have been traced to contact with infected birds, but experts fear it could mutate into a form that could create a human pandemic.

Copyright © 2006 Associated Press

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