Sunday, May 27, 2007

Bird Flu Kills 5 Year Old Girl In Indonesia, Vietnamese Man Falls Ill

A five year old girl from Central Java, Indonesia, died from the H5N1 virus 10 days ago, after contact with dead, or sick, birds.

Some 20 chickens died suddenly in her village before she became ill.

Her death takes Indonesia's official human toll to 77, from a reported 97 infections, which means H5N1 has a human mortality rate close to 80%. However, because of the vastness of the Indonesian archipelago, and the lack of quality health care and medical services across dozens of Indonesia's inhabited islands, some bird flu watchers believe the actual death and infection numbers are much higher.

Vietnam has reported its first human avian influenza infection in more than 18 months. The 30 year old man has been hospitalised in Hanoi. Initial tests have proved positive for H5N1.

The man reportedly killed chickens more than three weeks ago, for wedding celebrations, in a village some 60 kilometres from Hanoi.

Two days after slaughtering the chickens he is believed to have suffered his first symptoms - breathing difficulties and a high fever.

Vietnam was only recently praised by the World Health Organisation for its excellent campaign of widespread poultry culls and vaccination programs through 2004 and 2005, which were then believed to have eliminated the H5N1 virus from all its provinces.

Unfortunately, the virus has now returned to at least six provinces, in the north, south and central lands of the country, killing more than 2000 poultry birds and leading to the culling of tens of thousands more.

Pakistan and Ghana have both reported fresh outbreaks of H5N1 on poultry farms in the past few days.

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