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Ciptapangan Visitor
Indonesia's Bird-Flu Toll Rises
posted by admin on 01/06/06

Indonesia averaged one human bird-flu death every 2½ days in May 

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Indonesia averaged one human bird-flu death every 2½ days in May, putting it on pace to soon surpass Vietnam as the world's hardest-hit country. 

The latest death, announced yesterday, was a 15-year-old boy whose preliminary tests were positive for the H5N1 virus. The results still need to be confirmed by a World Health Organization-sanctioned laboratory in Hong Kong, Health Ministry official Hariadi 
Wibisono said. 

The boy, from the town of Tasikmalaya in West Java province, had a history of contact with poultry. He is the third recent victim from the province. Last week, a 10-year-old girl and her 18-year-old brother who lived in another village died of the disease. Sick and dead birds were reported near their home. 

Indonesia has logged at least 36 human deaths in the past year -- 25 since January -- and is expected to soon eclipse Vietnam's 42 fatalities. 

Meanwhile, the WHO said 54 uninfected members and contacts of the family hardest-hit by bird flu are under voluntary quarantine in Indonesia, but there are no signs the disease has spread since May 22. The quarantined people -- except pregnant women and infants -- are taking the antiviral drug Tamiflu as a preventive medication. 

The WHO said teams also are visiting all the other homes in the village of Kubu Simbelang in North Sumatra to look for influenza-like illness. 

The WHO says seven members of the family died either of confirmed or probable H5N1 infection. An eighth family member was buried before samples were collected, but WHO considers her part of the cluster. 

Copyright © 2006 Associated Press

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