Flu Bird flu probe in Indonesia intensifies on human link (Updat

Discussion in 'Survival Medicine' started by melbo, May 24, 2006.

  1. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member


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    NDONESIA, May.24 (Bloomberg): World Health Organization officials intensified their investigation of the spread of bird flu among seven Indonesian family members and may consider raising the alert level for a possible lethal pandemic.

    Any evidence of the H5N1 avian influenza strain being passed from human-to-human in a chain of three or more people may prompt the WHO to convene a panel of experts and consider raising the pandemic alert level, Maria Cheng, a spokeswoman for the WHO, said yesterday in Geneva.

    "There will be a lot of pressure from some circles" to raise the level of alert, Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, said by telephone from New York. The concern is that "other cases are being unrecognized."

    Cases involving sustained human transmission would suggest the virus has undergone genetic changes making it more contagious, according to the WHO. So far, studies of the Sumatran outbreak and genetic analyses of the virus don't indicate it has undergone major changes, Cheng said.

    At least 124 of 218 people known to have been infected with the H5N1 virus have died, the WHO said yesterday. Almost all of the H5N1 cases confirmed by the WHO since late 2003 can be traced to direct contact with sick or dead birds.

    A 10-year-old girl probably died yesterday of avian flu in Indonesia's West Java province, the Jakarta Post reported, citing Djatnika, a hospital official in Bandung, the provincial capital. The case is unrelated to the family cluster on Sumatra.
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