Thursday, January 24, 2008

Experts probe high bird flu mortality rate in Indonesia

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Medical experts are worried about how death rates for H5N1 bird flu have shot up in places like Indonesia, and studies are being carried out to see if victims require higher dosages of drugs.

Although the H5N1 has only infected 352 people since 2003, it has killed 219 of them, with mortality rates rising to more than 80 percent in places like Indonesia in the past two years.

“It could be they are treated later, or the virus is different, more virulent. There are many maybes, including differences in susceptibility of the virus,” Menno de Jong, a doctor who has treated bird flu victims in Vietnam, told Reuters on the sidelines of a bird flu conference in Bangkok.

He said a major concern was the H5N1 variant in Indonesia appeared to be less susceptible to oseltamivir, the antiviral used to combat the disease.

“It’s not a (drug) resistant virus, it’s just that a bit more drug (may be) needed to inhibit these (H5N1) clade 2 viruses,” he said, referring to the sub-category that Indonesia’s H5N1 virus has been classified under.

Studies are being conducted in Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia to see if H5N1 patients need to be given higher dosages of oseltamivir.

Bird flu story source: Reuters

Posted by john T. on 01/24 at 09:05 AM
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