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Travel advisory-Indonesia's bird flu 3 more deaths

Travel advisory-Indonesia's bird flu 3 more deaths

Post Number:#1  Postby miemosa » Wed Mar 28, 2007 1:00 pm

Indonesia confirms three more bird flu deaths
28 Mar 2007 03:23:22 GMT
Source: Reuters
JAKARTA, March 28 (Reuters) - A teenager, a 22-year-old woman and a 39-year-old man have died from bird flu in Indonesia, a health ministry official said on Wednesday.
Indonesia has the world's highest human death toll from bird flu and the latest deaths take its count of dead from the virus to 69.

The news came on the heels of a deal between the World Health Organisation and Indonesia in which the latter agreed to resume sharing flu virus samples for research in exchange for WHO's agreement to restrict drug company access to them. WHO and other experts say sharing samples is vital to finding ways to fight the virus, while Indonesia and some other developing countries like Thailand want to make sure they have access to human vaccines at reasonable prices.

The virus is endemic among fowl in many parts of Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous country. Human cases generally involve contact with infected birds. The latest human cases in Indonesia bring the total in the country to 89. The three had been confirmed to have the H5N1 virus by two tests, Muhammad Nadirin at the health ministry's bird flu centre told Reuters by telephone.
The 39-year-old man among the three was from East Java and "was a bird lover ... on March 11 his and neighbours' chickens died suddenly. The tests showed that they were infected by avian flu," Nadirin said.
Bird flu has swept through poultry across Asia to Africa and Europe. Experts believe it could mutate into a form that would easily pass from one person to another, possibly killing millions in months.
Indonesia has had difficulty controlling the disease among fowl because millions of Indonesians keep small numbers of chickens, ducks and other domesticated birds, important both as food and to supplement incomes.

It agreed on Tuesday to resume sending virus samples to the WHO, ending a standoff that began in December when Indonesia refused to share samples of the H5N1 avian influenza virus unless it had guarantees they would not be used commercially. Under the Tuesday agreement WHO is to develop "terms of reference" on sharing viruses and any sharing outside those rules, including for vaccine development by drug companies, would require the consent of countries from where the virus originated.
"We will take the recommendation to a WHO meeting in June to be formalised," Indonesian Health Minister Siti Fadillah Supari told reporters late on Tuesday. David Heymann, WHO bird flu chief, did not say when the terms of reference on virus sharing would be completed but added that "it will take much work still to develop" them.

"We will share viruses again because WHO has made a strong commitment," Supari told reporters.
"We have now agreed with WHO and other member states of WHO on a timetable to make the changes necessary to accomplish our objective of achieving equitable and affordable access to vaccines for developing countries around the world," she said.
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