11/30/2005, 00.00
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Bird flu kills again in Indonesia

Two other suspected deaths are reported. New outbreaks every week occur in China.

Jakarta (AsiaNews-Agencies) – The bird flu has killed again: one person is dead with two deaths that are suspect. New outbreaks have been reported in China. The Asian Development Bank is to fund prevention measure in Vietnam.

Indonesia. Tests have confirmed that a 25-year-woman who died overnight in a Jakarta hospital had the bird flu virus. No confirmation yet for two brothers, 7 and 20, who died a few days ago showing symptoms for the disease.

Indonesian Health Ministry official Hariadi Wibisono said the authorities did not take blood samples from the two brothers who were diagnosed with typhoid. A third brother, 16, is also in hospital in the city of Bandung in West Java.

Their family raised chickens which recently died en masse.

The Indonesian government has designated 44 hospitals to handle victims should a pandemic be declared. They include isolation wards, but health equipment is woefully lacking.

After reaching an agreement with patent holder Roche, Jakarta plans to make the antiviral vaccine Tamiflu on its own.

China. Two more outbreaks in poultry have been reported, bringing to the total number since mid-October to 24. In Shanshan County (Xinjiang) 288 chickens have died since November 22; another 52,162 were culled within a three-kilometre radius. Since November 18 about 400 chickens have died in the village of Laobutou in Yonggshou (Hunan).

Selling poultry has been banned in Shanghai, except in 464 designated markets.

Vietnam. Mass culling of wild birds has taken place near Ho Chi Minh City. The Food and Agriculture Organisation warns that the measure is not preventing the virus from spreading.

Vietnam along with Cambodia and Laos is to receive US$ 30 million from the Asian development Bank to fight the virus and implement preventive measures.

In South-East Asia, the H5N1 virus has infected 133 people, killing at least 68 since December 2003. (PB)

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