Saturday, January 14, 2006

Indonesia's confirmed bird flu deaths rise to 12

A laboratory in Hong Kong has confirmed Indonesia's 12th human death from bird flu, a senior Health Ministry official said on Saturday.

Hariadi Wibisono said the latest results from the laboratory, which is recognised by the World Health Organisation, showed the H5N1 virus had killed a 29-year-old Indonesian woman who died this week in a Jakarta hospital.She had been in contact with dead chickens before falling ill, hospital officials have said.

"We are still waiting on the other pending result, that of the 39-year-old man," Wibisono told Reuters.

Local tests have shown that man also died of bird flu earlier this month.

WHO-recognised laboratories have now confirmed 12 deaths and five other cases in Indonesia where patients survived.

The H5N1 virus cannot pass easily between humans at the moment, but experts fear it could develop that ability and set off a global pandemic which might kill millions of people.

It has killed more than 70 people in Southeast Asia and China since 2003. Cases have also emerged in Turkey, the first human infections outside East Asia.

Sunday Observer
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