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September 21, 2005

Avian Flu UpdatePowerpundit

"Epidemic" in Indonesia:

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia called an outbreak of bird flu in its teeming capital an epidemic on Wednesday as health and agricultural experts from around the world converged on Jakarta to help control the virus.

iti Fadillah Supari said the emergence of sporadic human cases of bird flu in recent months in and around different parts of Jakarta, home to 12 million people, warranted the epidemic tag.

She was speaking before announcing that an initial local test on a five-year-old girl who died on Wednesday after suffering from bird flu symptoms was negative for the virus.

"This can be described as an epidemic. These (cases) will happen again as long as we cannot determine the source," Supari told reporters, but she insisted it would be wrong to label it a "frightening epidemic."

Four Indonesians are already confirmed to have died since July from the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of bird flu, which has killed a total of 64 people in four Asian countries since late 2003 and has been found in birds in Russia and Europe.

Six other patients are still in a government-designated hospital in Jakarta suspected of having avian flu.

The U.N. World Health Organization last week warned bird flu was moving toward a form that could be passed between human beings and the world had no time to waste to prevent a pandemic, an outbreak that spreads far more widely than an epidemic.

And if it strikes here, we're not even close to being ready to deal with it.

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Posted by dymaxion at September 21, 2005 05:20 PM

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