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February 16, 2006

Indonesia sees more frequent human infections

Indonesia's human cases of avian influenza are occurring with increasing frequency, prompting the government to step up monitoring efforts aimed at slowing the spread of the virus among animals.

Humans are contracting the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus at a faster pace, causing more deaths, Agriculture Minister Anton Apriantono told reporters in Jakarta before attending a cabinet meeting on bird flu, without elaborating.

``We will step up preventive efforts, be more proactive,'' Apriantono said. ``We will do checking even on areas that haven't seen any cases of dead poultry. Information dissemination about bird flu will be stepped up.''

Indonesia has the second-highest number of bird flu cases among humans in the world. The H5N1 virus has killed at least 18 people of the 25 people it has infected in the Southeast Asian nation. Health authorities say they are concerned the virus will mutate into a form easily transmitted among humans, causing a deadly global pandemic. The country's suspected sixth cluster of human infections, in two adults and their two-year-old daughter, has heightened concerns.

The government plans to start searching Jakarta homes starting next week, Apriantono said. The government will cull diseased poultry in a 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) radius and vaccinate fowl within a 3 kilometer radius.

That is from Bloomberg. I wonder how much of this increase in reported cases is due to better testing and awareness, as opposed to higher incidence.

Posted by dymaxion at February 16, 2006 02:59 PM

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