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. In Indonesia, 2 More Flu Deaths Suspected

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by Kate Walker, UPI Correspondent
Oxford, England (UPI) Feb 02, 2006
Indonesia has suffered two more avian-influenza fatalities, local tests indicate.

Although official confirmation of the results from the World Health Organization has yet to come, the circumstances of the deaths and the local test results make it likely that the country has now seen 15 H5N1 deaths.

Samples from a 15-year-old boy who died Wednesday have been sent to a WHO laboratory for confirmation. The boy, who died in Bandung, fell ill after he came into contact with dead chickens.

The second fatality was that of a 39-year-old market vendor who died last week, again after coming into contact with sick poultry.

Meanwhile:

- Fears of avian influenza are on the increase in Hong Kong, following the discovery last month of two dead Oriental Magpie Robins, indoors and in different locations, both from avian influenza.

Three people who were hospitalized for observation after eating a chicken that was believed to have been infected with avian flu have tested negative for the virus.

The three, ranging between ages 39 and 78, were hospitalized Jan. 31 after it was found that a chicken they had eaten Jan. 30 was kept with a bird smuggled from the Chinese mainland that later died of suspected H5N1 infection.

Hong Kong's Department of Agriculture has now begun culling all poultry that was kept within a 3-mile radius of the chicken.

- A WHO spokesman has said that human avian-influenza infections in Turkey should soon be on the decrease.

While it is possible that new cases of infection will be reported in the immediate future, health officials hope the government's counter-infection measures, including the spread of information about avian influenza and the mass culling of poultry, will prevent the virus from taking hold in the country.

"As the virus is now known to be present in birds in many parts of the country, some additional human cases should be anticipated in the immediate future," said the WHO spokesman.

"The number of these cases is, however, expected to decline as high-risk behaviors become less common and culling operations, which are presently under way, reduce the number of infected birds."

- Following inspections of a number of areas in Syria, a WHO delegation has announced that the country appears to be free from bird flu.

According to Mahmoud Karim, Syria's director of environmental and chronic diseases, the delegation, which included representatives from the WHO and the United Nations, was pleased with the protective measures taken by the Syrian government to prevent the disease's entry into the country.

In addition to counter-measures and protection, the delegation also reviewed Syria's protection and field measures, as well as its primary diagnosis mechanisms.

- Turkish Cypriot authorities have now culled 1,200 birds in the region where avian influenza was first detected in an attempt to prevent the disease's spread.

Kamil Aktulgali, head of the Turkish Cypriot government's veterinary service, said "we have killed around 1,200 poultry within a six-mile radius of the village where the dead birds were found."

Besides culling, the Turkish Cypriot authorities are monitoring poultry in the area and disinfecting vehicles moving between the Greek and Turkish sides of the island.

Erhan Ercin, European Union coordinator to the Turkish Cypriot government, said, "The two EU experts who came to northern Cyprus have told us that all measures taken are adequate."

Source: United Press International

Related Links
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Hong Kong Bird Flu Finds Raise New Fears About China Reporting
Hong Kong (AFP) Feb 02, 2006
Suspicions that China is not fully declaring data on bird flu resurfaced Thursday after two more cases were discovered in Hong Kong - one of them in a chicken smuggled from a part of the mainland declared free of H5N1.

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