08/21/2006, 00.00
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Mother and daughter die of bird flu in Indonesia

Although bird flu was not confirmed as cause of death in daughter, it is feared that their deaths might be due to direct contact. In one village at least 12 people fall ill to the disease.

Jakarta (AsiaNews/Agencies) – In Indonesia there are more fears about a new bird flu outbreak after it was confirmed that Eius Lina, a 35 year-old woman who died last Thursday at Dr Slamet Hospital, had the bird flu. She is among at least 12 suspected cases of the disease in the West Javan village of Cikelet, 150 km southeast of Jakarta. Her nine-year-old daughter died two weeks ago, but she was buried before any tissue samples were taken for testing.

"We did not take her [daughter's] specimens, so we don't know whether she is positive or negative," I Nyoman Kandun, Indonesia's director general of communicable disease control, said. "It seems she had the same symptoms - pneumonia, breathlessness. If the daughter was also positive we can say this is a cluster family."

Officials said they were collecting samples from others who may have been in contact with the family of the woman, who was the 46th death in Indonesia.

Local poultry is described as rife with the H5N1 virus and a team from the health ministry, local authorities and the World Health Organisation are in the area investigating.

Dr Slamet Hospital spokesman Yogi Suprayogi said that on Saturday three other villagers were hospitalised.

"We suspect there is a possibility of cluster," Health Minister Siti Fadillah Supari said.

Bayu Krisnamurthi, head of the national committee on Avian Influenza Control and Pandemic Preparedness, said yesterday that more than 4,000 birds had been culled in the area. He added that since patients came from various areas he believed no human-to-human transmission had occurred. (PB)

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