The mystery of the last Indonesian victim of the Bird-Flu seems to have been solved.
According to an Indonesian health ministry official, the child who died of bird flu last weekend, appears to have caught the virus from dead or sick chickens in the area carrying the disease.
Medical experts had initially struggled to pinpoint the source of the infection in this case, as the victim was not known to have been in contact with poultry.There is always a concern when the cause of a human infection cannot be traced.
One possibility of the source of the infection was “human to human” infection of the H5N1 virus.
This would have suggested a serious mutation in the virus, with devastating results for all of us.
There has been lively discussion about this case in the global news media and the blogs, with arguments for and against a possible human to human infection mutation.
But not to worry, apparently a chicken was the culprit in this case after all, according to the Indonesia Government officials.
“She had indirect contact with dead chickens near her school,” Joko Suyono, an official at the ministry’s bird flu centre, said by telephone.
Hmmmmmm. “indirect contact with dead chickens near her school”
This comment by the official conjured up visions of floating ghosts of dead chickens in my mind!
The official said that tests on dead chickens found near the girl’s school showed they were infected with bird flu.
“We cannot know whether she touched sick chickens or not because she died. But we know surrounding her school the virus is endemic (in fowl),” he added.
Suyono said tests for the virus on people who may have had contact with the girl had proved negative and also said the findings in this case ruled out the possibility of the virus being transmitted between humans.
The official then answered without being asked, the unasked question hanging over this entire event:
“So far, there have been no human-to-human cases in Indonesia,” he said.
Let us all prey that he is right.
Here is a link to the news item from Yahoo:
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