04/04/2006, 00.00
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Nine months to confirm a bird flu case in Indonesia

Test results for an eight-year-old girl are released only yesterday. There are fears the real numbers are higher than officially acknowledged.

Jakarta (AsiaNews/Agencies) – An eight-year-old Indonesian girl who died last year has been confirmed as the nation's 24th bird flu fatality. Here as in other countries at risk, inadequate health facilities and limited cooperation by the population are raising the risk of contagion.

The girl lived on the outskirts of Jakarta and died in the first half of July 2005, but only yesterday did test results from samples recently sent a Hong Kong laboratory confirm the cause of death. Her 38-year-old father and one-year-old sister had also died from the same disease last July.

This report confirms fears that cases of human infection are greater than World Health Organisation (WHO) data would indicate since the take into account only cases confirmed by lab analysis. Currently, for example, there are at least five patients being treated in Jakarta's Sulianti Saroso Hospital with bird flu-like symptoms,

WHO also confirmed that on March 31 a man in West Sumatra also tested positive. The virus has been found in birds in at least 26 of Indonesia's 33 provinces.

Philippines. There is fear about migratory birds returning from Indonesia who fly through the country on their way north. The government plans to cull all poultry in a 3 km radius wherever outbreaks are reported. Experts fear though that many farmers won't cooperate and provide quick information out of fear they won't be compensated.

Egypt. WHO confirmed that four Egyptians have caught bird flu, including two who died from the virus, Egyptian health ministry official Nasr Al Sayyed said yesterday. The total number of human cases in the country now stands at eight. A ban on domestic fowl remains in place, but people in rural areas are ignoring it. (PB)

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See also
First avian flu case detected
Bird flu feared more virulent in Eastern Europe than in Asia
WHO: China may have unidentified bird flu outbreaks
Human-to-human bird flu transmission feared in Indonesia
Avian flu kills three


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