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Indonesian Man Dies of Bird Flu; China Confirms Another H5N1 Case
posted by admin on 28/04/06

An Indonesian man died of the H5N1 strain of bird flu after coming into contact with his neighbor's infected chickens

An Indonesian man died of the H5N1 strain of bird flu after coming into contact with his neighbor's infected chickens, a senior health official said Friday, citing local laboratory tests.

Separately, China confirmed that an eight-year-old student has been infected with H5N1, the country's 18th case.

A swab and blood sample from the 30-year-old Indonesian man have been sent to a World Health Organization-sanctioned laboratory in Hong Kong for confirmation, said Hariadi Wibisono, a director at the Health Ministry. If confirmed, the man's death will raise Indonesia's human toll from H5N1 to 25, Mr. Wibisono said.

The eight-year-old Chinese girl from Suining, a city in the southwest province of Sichuan, showed symptoms of fever and pneumonia on April 16 and was being treated at a local hospital, the Health Ministry said in a statement posted on its Web site late Thursday.

Investigations show that poultry deaths were reported at her home before she got sick, the ministry said, without giving any more details on the outbreak.

People who came into close contact with the girl, surnamed Sun, have been put under medical observation and none have shown any abnormal symptoms, the ministry said.

Lab tests have confirmed that Sun had been infected with the H5N1 strain of bird flu, which has killed at least 113 people world-wide, most after contact with sick or infected birds. Twelve of China's 18 cases have died.

Health experts have warned that the virus could mutate into a form easily passed between people, potentially sparking a pandemic.

Earlier this week, the ministry criticized some local health authorities for being too slow to report suspicious pneumonia cases, potentially an H5N1 infection, or even hiding some.

The ministry didn't speculate on the reasons behind such actions, although local authorities in China often avoid reporting incidents that could draw official attention and possible criticism or censure.

Copyright © 2006 Associated Press

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