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July 05, 2006

WHO Confirms Another Bird Flu Victim in IndonesiaSci-Tech Today

The Indonesian government has confirmed another death in the country due to bird flu, an official said Monday.

The latest victim was a 5-year-old boy who died June 16 in Tulungagung, a town in East Java, said Nyoman Kandun of the Health Ministry.

A test by a WHO-affiliated laboratory in Hong Kong found that the boy was infected by the H5N1 virus, he said.

"We received the confirmation some two or three days ago," Kandun said.

The H5N1 virus is considered endemic in poultry in most provinces across the sprawling archipelago.

The latest victim brought Indonesia's human death toll from bird flu to 40, trailing only Vietnam, where 42 people have died of the disease.

Bird flu has killed at least 129 people worldwide since it started ravaging Asian poultry farms in late 2003.

Most human cases have been linked to contact with infected birds, but experts fear the virus could mutate into a form that makes it more easily transmissible among humans.

The World Bank has urged cash-strapped Indonesia to be more aggressive in culling fowl in infected areas -- something Jakarta has been unwilling to do so far due to a lack of funds.

Posted by dymaxion at July 5, 2006 02:26 PM

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