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Garut H5N1 Bird Flu Cluster in Indonesia Grows to Eight
August 17, 2006
There have been seven confirmed or suspected bird flu deaths or illnesses in the hamlet.
Ai's neighbor, Umar Aup, was sickened by the H5N1 virus and Aup's cousin and three others died before tests could be taken.
The above comments raise the number of confirmed or suspected H5N1 bird flu cases in the tiny Hamlet of Cikelet in Garut, West Java to eight. The hamlet is only 20 km in width, so a concentration of eight patients over a short time period is cause for concern.
Samples of the first four fatalities were not collected. However, the cousin of one of the four, Umar Aup, has tested positive for H5N1, as has dead poultry in the region. In addition, a nine year old fatality in a nearby village of Jojok in the hamlet has also tested positive for H5N1.
Her neighbor and another child are hospitalized and waiting test results. Thus, there have already been five fatalities and all testing in local labs has been positive for H5N1. Two children, ages 5 and 6 are hospitalized with bird flu symptoms.
The concentration of cases in the small hamlet is alarming. Five of the six outcomes have been fatal and have happened over a short time frame of 2-4 weeks. Although the poultry is H5N1 positive, poultry samples have failed to match the vast majority of human cases on Java, including those in West Java, the location of the Cikelet hamlet.