Bird flu claims new Indonesian victim
(Aug 20, 2006) An Indonesian woman who died just hours after being rushed to a hospital last week tested positive for bird flu, and 12 other people from her home town have also been infected with the deadly H5N1 virus, a senior health official said Sunday.
"Yes, it's confirmed - bird flu," Nyoman Kandun, director-general of the Indonesian Health Ministry, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
The 35-year-old woman, Euis Lina, came from Cikelet subdistrict in West Java province, where a 9-year-old girl also died from the virus while 12 others are recovering.
Lina is Indonesia's 46th bird flu fatality, which is the highest in the world. Vietnam has 42 deaths, but has not recorded one this year, while Indonesia has 34.
Bird flu is endemic in 27 of Indonesia's 33 provinces with millions of chickens and ducks infected.
International health experts said they fear that H5N1, the strain of the virus that has been deadly in humans, could mutate into a virus that can spread from human to human and spark a pandemic that could kill tens of millions of people.
Bird flu in Indonesia grabbed the world's attention in May when seven members of a single family on Sumatra Island died of the virus - the largest recorded cluster to date. The World Health Organization concluded that limited human-to-human transmission probably occurred, but the virus did not spread beyond the family members. (from bangkokpost.com)