Friday, May 26, 2006

Poultry dying in Indonesia village likely bird flu source

Chickens are dying in unusually large numbers in a remote area in Indonesia where bird flu killed several members of a family, and experts say the first victim in the cluster was probably infected by a diseased chicken.

For weeks now, health experts have been trying to hunt down the source that introduced the H5N1 bird flu virus to the family in Kubu Sembilang village in north Sumatra, killing as many as seven of them.

The case has drawn immense interest because it is the largest known family cluster involving H5N1 and the World Health Organisation (WHO) said this week that limited human-to-human transmission between members of the family might have occurred.

Tests done on samples from pigs, chickens and ducks in the area have been inconclusive and experts have long maintained that nothing can be ruled out. This is the first time that they have narrowed down the likely source to poultry.

“What we’re finding out the longer our team stays up in that area is that there are many, many outbreaks in chickens that always go unreported,” Steven Bjorge, a WHO epidemiologist.

“Just in the past couple of weeks they have found a couple of outbreaks of chickens dying in various villages in that area ... that raises the very real possibility that people can come into contact with this virus.”

Avian influenza story source

Posted by john T. on 05/26 at 05:06 AM
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