News update:Jul 21, 2006

Indonesia matches Vietnam with 42nd bird flu death

Indonesia has confirmed its 42nd bird flu fatality, equalling Vietnam as the country with the most human deaths from the virus.

Local lab tests on a 44-year-old man who died July 12 were positive for the H5N1 strain of avian influenza. A World Health Organisation reference laboratory in Hong Kong confirmed the diagnosis.

The man lived in the Jatinegara neighborhood in an eastern part of the capital, Jakarta, where he sold fried chicken, said Joko Suyono, an official at health ministry's avian flu center. "He was exposed to chickens everyday,'' Suyono said.

Indonesia has reported the most human fatalities this year as authorities struggle to control the virus in poultry in about 80 percent of the nation's 33 provinces.

Since late 2003, H5N1 is known to have infected 230 people, killing 132 of them, the WHO said on July 14. Vietnam hasn't reported any avian flu cases this year.

Indonesia has allocated only 30 billion rupiah (US$3.19 million) for compensating farmers. For each destroyed chicken, a farmer gets R10,000 (US$1.06), whereas the birds fetch R15,000 to R30,000 at market.

The Australian government has established an A$10 million (US$7.32 million) compensation scheme to assist Indonesian poultry farmers hit by bird flu.

Editor WorldPoultry

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