Indonesian Health Ministry: Two new human clusters of Bird Flu suspected in Sumatra

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Wednesday, August 2, 2006

The Indonesian Health Ministry has stated that at least seven people, including three children from Northern Sumatra Province in the district of Karo, are being hospitalized with suspected H5N1 Bird Flu and officials believe that the infected are part of "two clusters" of family members who are sick. The individuals are being treated at Adam Malik Hospital located in Medan. All individuals were admitted on Tuesday.

The Associated Press quoted Nyoman Kandun, a Health Ministry official, as saying, "there are two clusters, one with two sisters, the other with three family members, and another two of their neighbours." The three children range in age from 18 months to six-years-old.

However; experts are waiting on results from tests on the individuals and must be "scientifically proven," said Runizar Ruesin, also a Health Ministry official.

The condition of all victims are stable, however; all victims have a fever, a cough, and flu-like symptoms which officials say resemble the symptoms of Bird Flu.

"Their lungs have not shown signs of pneumonia but we have to keep monitoring them because in one or two days things could change," said hospital director, Luhur Suroso.

According to anti-bird flu task force member, Bayu Krisnamurthi, if the situation is or becomes "feasible as far as the procedure is concerned" then poultry local to the area will be "culled" beginning "today."

In May, seven members of the same family from the same district died when becoming infected with Bird Flu, possibly through human-to-human transmission. So far, officials have not stated if this is the case or not in the new clusters.