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Bekasi H5N1 Cluster Continues to Grow

Recombinomics Commentary

May 17, 2006

A 12-year-old Indonesian boy died of bird flu four days ago in Jakarta's eastern suburb of Bekasi, a health ministry official said on Wednesday, citing the results of local tests.

Blood samples have been sent to a World Health Organisation-affiliated laboratory in Hong Kong for confirmation, spokeswoman Lily Sulistyowati said.

The confirmation of H5N1 bird flu in another Bekasi resident is cause for concern. Almost all cases that are H5N1 positive in Jakarta are confirmed by Hong Kong.  Recently four suspect cases in Jakarta were described.  However, the cluster of cases in Bekasi has been noted recently as well as last year (see October map).

This geographical cluster is cause for concern. The Medan cluster indicates H5N1 in Indonesia is becoming more efficient at infecting humans, and the continuing confirmation of Bekasi fatalities suggest transmission in the Jakarta area is also becoming more efficient.

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