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May 22, 2006

H5N1 getting deadlier

Via Bloomberg: Bird flu fatality rate in humans climbs to 64% as virus spreads. And another Indonesian (not in Sumatra) has died.

Bird flu has killed 64 percent of those people known to be infected with the virus this year, according to World Health Organization statistics, with the number of fatalities since Jan. 1 surpassing 2005 levels.

At least 47 of 73 people known to be infected with the H5N1 strain of avian influenza are reported to have died in the first five months of this year, the WHO said on its Web site yesterday. In 2005, 41 of 95 -- or 43 percent -- died.

Health officials are worried the lethal H5N1 virus may mutate into a form that's easily spread among people, touching off a pandemic similar to the one that began in 1918 in which as many as 50 million people died.

In Indonesia, where the rate of fatalities among H5N1 patients is 78 percent, officials are investigating a suspected 33rd death in the country.

A 20-year-old man died in East Java's city of Surabaya today after he had been treated in the Budi Mulia Hospital since May 9, the Antara state news agency said. Samples from the man were sent to Jakarta for testing to confirm H5N1 infection, the report said.

Eleven other people are being tested, including three who are under quarantine in Surabaya with avian flu-like symptoms, Antara reported.

Posted by dymaxion at May 22, 2006 10:19 PM

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