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New human H5N1 bird flu case in Indonesia

A health official in Indonesia reported yesterday that a hospitalised woman was tested positive for bird flu. Indonesia has witnessed 52 deaths due to bird flu//, the number being the highest of any country. Most of the deaths occurred from the beginning of this year.

"A 67-year-old woman living in the Cisarua area of Bandung had contact with fowl," the official from the bird flu information centre over telephone. "The woman was admitted to the hospital on Oct. 7 and was still alive, " the official added. "The woman tested positive to the H5N1 virus after a test at a health ministry laboratory and one conducted by NAMRU, the U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit based in Jakarta," the official added.

Hadi Yusuf, the director of the Hasan Sadikin hospital in Bandung, southeast of the capital Jakarta, said, "The woman is being treated with the anti-viral drug Tamiflu and antibiotics. "Her condition is bad. For a second day, she has been on a respirator and her blood pressure is high." Yusuf said, "The woman had come down with a fever two weeks after being in the vicinity of dead chickens. "

The Indonesian government has not taken up mass culling of birds, in spite of the rise in the number of human deaths, mentioning the costs and uselessness in a big, densely populated country where a few fowls in the back yard is common.

Since 2003, bird flu has claimed 148 lives globally.

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