Bird Flu Fears Increase in Indonesia

Fears about bird flu are on the rise in Indonesia after four deaths and in increase in the number of suspected cases to 13. So far there is no evidence of a human-to-human transfer of the virus which is one of the World Health Organization's big concerns. The WHO and other infectitious disease experts fear the bird flu could obtain the obility to transfer easily from human host to human host which would lead to a global pandemic that could kill hundreds of millions of people worldwide. The BBC reports that so far human-to-human transmission of the disease is not occuring in Indonesia.
Health officials fear that if the virus combines with the human influenza virus, it could become highly infectious and lead to a global flu pandemic.

According to the BBC correspondent in Jakarta, Rachel Harvey, the increase in the number of suspected cases in Indonesia could be partly due to an increase in public awareness.

There is now saturation coverage of the bird flu outbreak on television, radio and in newspapers, she says.

"With increased surveillance its not unusual that you would pick up more cases," said Dr Margaret Chan, the WHO's representative on bird flu.
The BBC article also notes one depressing aspect of Bird Flu is that is tends to kill young children which makes it that much more alarming and tramatic for Indonesian parents. More information about bird flu can be found in the WHO's bird flu website and the CDC's bird flu website.

Posted on September 21, 2005

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