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    » 07/15/2005, 00.00


    Avian flu kills three

    Mathias Hariyadi

    According to the Health Ministry, there is a 99 per cent certainty that there deaths are the result of the H5N1 virus, which causes the bird flu.

    Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Indonesia's Health Ministry has confirmed that the death of Iwan Siswara Rifei (37) and his two young children Thalita Nurul Azizah (1) and Sabrina Nurul Aisyah (8) are "99 per cent because of the bird flu".

    In a statement, Health Minister Siti Fadillah Supari said that it was reasonable to believe that the deaths were due to the H5N1 virus, which causes the bird flu. "It is not SARS, as some might have thought," she said.

    But the final proof will come from a Hong Kong lab. "Laboratory analysis has shown traces but we are not still fully convinced. We have to wait for other laboratory analyses made in Hong Kong. In a week, the results should be in," Minister Supari added.

    Iwan Siswara Rifei died on July 12 after exhibiting the typical symptoms associated with SARS (high fever, endless cough, and respiratory problems). His daughters passed away on July 9 and 14. All three had been hospitalized in Siloam Gleneagles Hospital. No other member of the family shows signs of the disease.

    The Indonesian government has set up special veterinary units to inspect poultry, pigs and rats, all of whom can carry the virus.

    On several occasions, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has invited the governments whose countries have been affected by the virus to communicate rapidly and clearly all information about risk situations. It warned that as the virus moves, there a greater risks that it might mutate into a form that can cause human-to-human contagion.

    According to WHO figures, so far there have been 54 known deaths related to the bird flu during the two peak outbreaks that have affected about a hundred people in China and South-East Asia since 2003.

    Since its first outbreak, the disease has also struck about 100 million birds; in poultry, the mortality rate has been 100 per cent.

    Contagion in humans can be lethal with a 54 per cent mortality rate in all known cases.

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    See also

    27/10/2005 ASIA
    Suspected new cases of bird flu in humans in China and Thailand
    No official confirmation has been forthcoming. International discussions over countermeasures and antiviral drugs continue. Concern is mounting over the danger that the virus might spread to Africa.

    08/07/2005 PHILIPPINES
    First avian flu case detected
    The virus has killed more than 50 people since the outbreak began. The World Health Organisation warns that "the more the virus spreads, the greater the chances it could combine with the human flu virus".

    15/06/2005 VIETNAM
    Hanoi announces three new bird flu cases

    22/09/2005 INDONESIA
    Fears of bird flu outbreak spread in Indonesia after two children die

    09/03/2005 VIETNAM
    New, asymptomatic bird flu cases
    The disease might be more widespread than thought before.

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