Friday, January 13, 2012

Indonesia goes on alert after bird flu kills man

Officials burn chicken coops in reaction to a fatal case of bird flu in Jakarta, Indonesia. The virus has killed more than 80 percent of Indonesians infected with it since 2005.

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia confirmed yesterday that a bird-flu virus killed a 23-year-old pigeon fancier Saturday in Jakarta, prompting the government to step up preventive measures at hospitals.

Three hospitals dedicated to handling the H5N1 strain of avian influenza in the city of 9.6 m illion people were ordered to provide stand-by rooms for suspected patients, Dien Emmawati, head of Jakarta’s Health Agency, said by phone yesterday. More ambulances for bird-flu patients will also be added, she said.

The virus has killed more than 80 percent of people infected in the country since it was first reported in 2005, health-ministry data show. The strain was first recorded in humans in Hong Kong in 1997 and has since spread through Asia, Europe and Africa, resulting in the deaths of tens of millions of birds and raising concerns of a global outbreak.

“I hope people realize the danger of bird flu is still lurking in Jakarta,” Emmawati said. Read More