Bird Flu :: Bird flu virus claims another woman

A 20 yrs. old Indonesian woman died from the avian influenza virus – H5N1 bird flu virus, in west Java on saturday night after undergoing a two-day treatment for bird flu symptoms.

“The latest mortality was Indonesia’s 64th from 84 cases of the H5N1 avian influenza virus, and was the sixth de ath in 2007,” Nurdin, an official at the Health Ministry’s bird-flu information centre, told to Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

Indonesia has the world’s highest fatality tally from the disease. Vietnam has had 42 human de aths from the virus, but none in more than a year.

With the flu spreading around the world, the virus has turned up in birds in Asia and Europe, and, most recently, Africa. So far, bird flu has mostly been passed from birds either to other birds or, in isolated cases, to humans.

In June 2006, WHO reported the first case of human transference of the disease, when an Indonesian man died after catching the flu from his 10-year-old son. If the flu mutates into a strain that can pass more readily from human to human, people will have no immunity and the flu will probably pass rapidly from person to person, creating a pandemic.

Flu vaccines can only be made to protect against a particular virus, and, since the virus had yet to be passed from human to human, no vaccine has been developed.

Indonesia will not share bird flu virus samples with foreign laboratories until the World Health Organisation has rules in place to ensure they are not used commercially, a senior Indonesian health official said on Friday.

Indonesia on Wednesday said it would only share its H5N1 samples with those agreeing not to use them commercially. The announcement came as it signed a preliminary agreement with a unit of pharmaceutical firm Baxter International Inc. Under the pact the health ministry’s research and development institute will supply the U.S. firm specimens of H5N1; Baxter will provide technology to help develop a vaccine. Indonesia would have the right to produce and market the bird flu vaccine domestically. It is negotiating to export it to a number of countries.

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