An Indonesian woman has bird flu

JAKARTA, Oct 11 (Reuters) - An Indonesian woman being treated in hospital has tested positive for bird flu, a health official said on Wednesday.

Indonesia has become one of the frontlines in the battle against the disease. So far, 52 people have died of bird flu, the highest of any country, with the majority of deaths occurring since the beginning of this year.

"A 67-year-old woman living in the Cisarua area of Bandung had contact with fowl," the official from the bird flu information centre said by telephone. The woman was admitted to the hospital on Oct. 7 and was still alive, the official added.

The woman tested positive to the H5N1 virus after a test at a health ministry laboratory and one conducted by NAMRU, the U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit based in Jakarta, the official added.

Hadi Yusuf, the director of the Hasan Sadikin hospital in Bandung, southeast of the capital Jakarta, said the woman was being treated with the anti-viral drug Tamiflu and antibiotics.

"Her condition is bad. For a second day, she has been on a respirator and her blood pressure is high."

Yusuf said the woman had come down with a fever two weeks after being in the vicinity of dead chickens.

Despite the rise in the human death toll, the Indonesian government has resisted mass culling of birds, citing the expense and impracticality in a huge, populous country where keeping a few chickens or ducks in backyards is common.

Worldwide, 148 people have died of bird flu since 2003.


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