Bird Flu Alarm

2006-01-26-Man Dies Of Bird Flu In Indonesia

Understanding Avian Influenza

2006-01-26-Man Dies Of Bird Flu In Indonesia


Indonesian authorities say a man has died in hospital as a result of bird flu infection.

Tests being carried out by the World Health Organisation in Hong Kong are still pending. If the WHO test results confirm the Indonesian findings, this will bring the total number of human deaths in the country to 15.

The man was 22 years old, from South Jakarta. He had been at the Sulianti Saroso Hostpital. He was admitted to hospital after complaining of breathlessness and flu-like symptoms.

The man worked in a street market which was near to where many chickens were sold to the general public. He also lived near a chicken farm.

Health experts fear the virulent H5N1 bird flu virus strain will mutate and become transmissible among humans. For the moment it is hard for a human to become infected with this virus. Over 100 million birds have died as a result of bird flu infection over the last two years, compared to just 80 humans.

Humans can catch bird flu from sick birds, but not easily. A Human can, but extremely rarely, infect another human - for this to happen there must be a great deal of prolonged physical contact between the patient and the carer.

One of the ways the bird flu virus could learn how to spread from human-to-human would be if it infected someone who had the normal flu. The virus would then exchange genetic information with the normal human flu virus. It could then pick up the ability to transmit among humans. Hopefully, during this exchange of genes, it would also lose some of its virulence (potency).

Understanding Avian Influenza