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Ciptapangan Visitor
Indonesian Man Dies of Bird Flu
posted by admin on 17/07/06

A 44-year-old Indonesian man died of bird flu, the health ministry said

July 17, 2006

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- A 44-year-old Indonesian man died of bird flu, the health ministry said yesterday, edging the country closer to a grim milestone -- the most human deaths from the virus in the world.

If confirmed by a World Health Organization-approved laboratory, the man's death would bring the number of Indonesians killed by the H5N1 bird-flu strain to at least 42, the same as Vietnam.

"Local tests showed he was infected with the H5N1 virus," senior Health Ministry official Nyoman Kandun said, adding that the man died July 12 after being hospitalized for two days with a high fever, coughing and breathing difficulties.

The victim, from Jakarta's eastern outskirts, reportedly came into contact with infected birds, he said.

Bird flu has killed at least 132 people world-wide since it started ravaging Asian poultry stocks in late 2003, according to WHO.

Most people sickened by H5N1 have come into contact with infected birds, and it remains very difficult to catch. But experts fear the virus could mutate into a form that spreads easily among humans, possibly sparking a pandemic that could kill millions around the world.

Vietnam hasn't recorded any new human deaths this year, thanks in part to an aggressive campaign to slaughter all birds in infected areas.

But the death toll in Indonesia is increasing faster than any other country in the world -- with all of its deaths occurring in the past year.

The government has been criticized for not routinely slaughtering fowl in infected areas, seen as the best way to stop the virus from spreading. The government says it can't afford to compensate farmers.

Copyright © 2006 Associated Press

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