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Fatal H5N1 Bird Flu in
Suburban Jakarta  Family Confirmed

Recombinomics Commentary

July 20, 2005

Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari told reporters lab tests from Hong Kong showed the 38-year-old man and his two children, 9 and 1, had the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu.

She said the tests done in Hong Kong were based on specimens from the father and one of the daughters, but it could be concluded that all three had died of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu.

"We don't distinguish between the three," she said.

The above comments confirm initial reports of fatal H5N1 in a three member family cluster.  The disease onset dates were bimodal, strongly suggesting human-to-human transmission within the family.  This distribution is found in virtually every familial cluster in Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia, further confirming widespread human-to-human transmission of fatal bird flu.

The origin of the infection is unknown, but H5N1 in asymptomatic swine was reported in the same area earlier.  The H5N1 from the swine was similar to H5N1 from Yunnan province in China.  The family however lives in a Jakarta suburb, Tangergang, and has no reported contact with chickens.  The deceased father was a government auditor with a master degree.

Transmissible fatal H5N1 in an urban area like Jakarta is cause for concern, because of further spread within Jarkata and international spread via air travel.

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