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February 20, 2006

Indonesia: "We are very close" to H2H

From the Jakarta Post, an important and disturbing story: Experts warn risk of interhuman spread of bird flu on the rise.

Amid the increasing incidence of bird flu cluster cases, health experts warned Thursday of the growing likelihood of human-to-human transmission.

"We can't guess when the spread of the virus among humans will occur because it will need a thorough examination of the source of the virus from each patient in a cluster," the spokesman and head of the bird flu surveillance unit at North Jakarta's Sulianti Saroso Hospital, Ilham Patu, told The Jakarta Post.

"But the fact that we have more and more cases of bird flu clusters shows that we are very close to having one."

ere is another story about the Indonesians' worries.
Cluster cases are defined as several members of a household or neighborhood falling sick at the same time.

Health Minister Siti Fadillah Supari said Wednesday the country had the highest number of bird flu cluster fatalities in the world, with six reported so far. Indonesia also has the world's highest mortality rate, with 18 fatalities of the 26 people who have tested positive for the H5N1 virus since July last year.

Both Siti and Agriculture Minister Anton Apriyantono, speaking after a meeting with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono about handling of the problem, said the virus appeared to be more virulent, with Siti saying there was the growing probability of human-to-human transmission.

Health experts say the cluster cases provide conducive conditions for the mutation of the virus to human-to-human transmission. There have been nightmare scenarios of the shutdown of affected cities, causing a huge economic impact, from a global pandemic.

Read the whole story. When it comes to H5N1, the Indonesians have the unhappy distinction of knowing what they're talking about.

Posted by dymaxion at February 20, 2006 04:23 PM

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