Tamiflu distributed to stem spread of bird flu
2,100 people in the West Java district of Garut will receive the
bird flu drug Tamiflu, in an attempt by the Indonesian government to stem the tide of
bird flu infections in the area.
Three people in Garut, in the remote subdistrict of Cikelet, are confirmed to
have been infected with the avian
influenza virus. The latest case occurred in a 35-year-old woman who was
hospitalised with severe respiratory disease on 17 August and died shortly after
The distribution of Tamiflu started on Monday as part of the campaign to
increase public awareness of the deadly H5N1 virus, which has now killed 46
people in the country.
Fatimah Resmiati, spokeswoman from West Java environmental health office of
the Health Ministry, was quoted as saying that the government had also
distributed 200 books about bird flu to elementary school children.
A team of experts is presently in the Cikelet subdistrict investigating the
outbreak and monitoring for further cases. Three hamlets are the focus of
investigation. There has been speculation that this could be another cluster
case, but the WHO suspects that each case began
with individual contact with infected birds.
In the Cikelet subdistrict, mortality from endemic diseases, especially
malaria, is common, access to health care is poor, and medical records of deaths
are scanty or non-existent.
As the population had no experience with this disease, high-risk behaviours
commonly occurred during the disposal of carcasses or the preparation of sick or
dead birds for consumption. These exposures are, at present, thought to be the
source of infection for most confirmed or suspected
To comment, login here
Or register to be able to comment.