Archive for Friday, November 25, 2005

Disease spreads in China, Indonesia

November 25, 2005


— China on Thursday announced the spread of bird flu to a far western region, while Indonesia reported its first outbreak of the virus in the tsunami-ravaged Aceh province where hundreds of chickens have died from the disease.

The Nov. 17 outbreak in Turpan, a city in China's Xinjiang region, killed 11 birds and prompted the destruction of 5,180 more, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

News of the outbreak - China's 21st in recent weeks - came a day after the country confirmed its second human death from bird flu.

A 35-year-old farmer identified only by her surname, Xu, died Tuesday after coming into contact with infected poultry and developing a fever and pneumonia-like symptoms, Xinhua said.

Meanwhile, Indonesia's Agriculture Ministry said chickens have been infected with H5N1 in at least three districts in Aceh, where tens of thousands of survivors of the Dec. 26 tsunami still live in crowded refugee camps.

Hundreds of chickens have died, said Sjamsul Bahri, the ministry's director of animal health. He said bird flu has now been found in 23 of Indonesia's 30 provinces. The virus has killed seven people in Indonesia.

Also Thursday, the state-run China Daily newspaper reported that China was "within days" of testing a bird flu vaccine on 100 people between the ages of 18 to 60.

If approved, the vaccine will first be given to high-risk groups, such as veterinary and laboratory workers and poultry farmers in infected areas, Lu Zhenyou, a spokesman for Sinovac Biotech, one of the developers, was quoted as saying.

There are currently no human vaccines against the virus, although the drug Tamiflu is one of the few believed effective in treating it.


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