Saturday, March 17, 2007

Indonesian Man Dies Of H5N1 - 65th Person To Die In Region Since First Human Infection In 2005

Bird Flu Has 76% Fatality Rate In Humans In Indonesia

The avian influenza virus has claimed yet another victim in Indonesia. The 32 year old man is the 65th confirmed person to die from the virus, so far :
A 32-year-old Indonesian man has died of bird flu, bringing the death toll in the country from the virus to 65, a health ministry official said on Friday.

The man died at a hospital in the capital Jakarta on Thursday morning, Ahmad Prihatna, an epidemiologist at the health ministry's bird flu information center said by telephone.

The man, from east Jakarta, kept a pet bird in his house, the official added.

"But it has not been determined whether the bird was infected with bird flu," he said.

Bird flu is endemic in fowl in many of the 33 provinces in Indonesia and there was a sudden increase in the number of human deaths from the virus early this year after a brief lull.

The country has tried to intensify efforts to control the disease by banning backyard fowl in Jakarta and surrounding provinces, and increasing culling.

A particularly disturbing set of stats collected from this article on Indonesia's attempts to fight the endemic 'plague' of the H5N1 virus :

* The H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus was first detected in Indonesia in 2003.

* The Indonesian government first denied the flu strain detected was of avian influenza origin, instead claiming birds had died from 'Newcastle Disease'.

* Within months of the virus first being detected in birds, it was present in nine of Indonesia's 33 provinces. It has now been detected, and categorised by the World Health Organisation as "endemic" in virtually every province.

* Indonesia reported its first human cases in July 2005.

* To date, 84 cases of confirmed bird flu infection in humans have been reported. Officially 65 people have now died from the virus, though the true count of infections and deaths may be higher. This means the bird flu virus has had an official human fatality rate of 76%, the highest in the world.

* 11 million birds, mostly chickens and ducks, have died from either direct infection or as a result of poultry culls to contain the spread of the virus.

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