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Another Indonesian suspected of bird flu, condition stable

by 5m Editor
4 October 2005, at 12:00am

INDONESIA - A young Indonesian man is suspected of having bird flu after a local test result showed positive, and health officials said on Tuesday a specimen would be sent to a Hong Kong laboratory for further testings.

Another Indonesian suspected of bird flu, condition stable - INDONESIA - A young Indonesian man is suspected of having bird flu after a local test result showed positive, and health officials said on Tuesday a specimen would be sent to a Hong Kong laboratory for further testings.

Bird flu has killed more than 60 people in four Asian nations since late 2003 and has been found in birds in Russia and Europe.

Experts' greatest fear is that the H5N1 bird flu virus, which has the power to kill one out of every two people it infects, could set off a pandemic if it gains the ability to be passed easily among people.

I Nyoman Kandun, head of disease control at Indonesia's health ministry, said the young man's condition was stable and he was being cared for at a hospital in Bandar Lampung on Sumatra island designated to treat people with bird flu symptoms.

"Although the local test shows that he is positive, we don't want to reach any conclusion yet as we are awaiting results from Hong Kong," Kandun told Reuters.

Common symptoms of the disease, such as pneumonia, can have other causes, while local testing has not always squared with results from the Hong Kong laboratory recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Indonesia officials have said five people are believed to have died in the country from the H5N1 virus strain. The World Health Organisation puts the number of dead at three, based on Hong Kong tests, and says there is a fourth case of a boy who has the disease but is alive and in stable condition.

"We have received patients with similar symptoms, but they proved to be from other causes," Kandun said.

Separately, Agriculture Minister Anton Apriyantono said authorities have found infected fowl in the neighbourhoods of the victims.

"There is a link between human victims with (infected) fowl in the surrounding area. However, we are not certain if (they) were exposed from the neighbourhoods," Apriyantono told reporters.

Officials have said suspected human cases have come from nine provinces out of 33 across Indonesia's sprawling archipelago. The virus has spread to 22 provinces and more than 10 million fowl have been culled since late 2003.

Source: Reuters - 4th October 2005

5m Editor