8-year-old Indonesian girl dies of bird flu, country's eighth death this year
The Health Ministry said the girl, from the West Java district of Karawang, died Tuesday in a Jakarta hospital that had treated her since June 28.
She first developed a fever June 18, one day before going on holiday to Singapore, where a doctor diagnosed her with laryngitis, the ministry said Friday on its website. She returned five days later and was treated at a Karawang hospital before being transferred to Jakarta.
The ministry says the girl might have had contact with slaughtered chickens she and her father bought from a local market.
Bird flu has killed more than 350 people worldwide. Indonesia accounts for 158 of the deaths.
The first case of avian flu in humans occurred in Hong Kong in 1997. Since then, it has been reported in Indonesia, Asia, Africa, Europe, Vietnam and the near East. An estimated 60 percent of those who become ill die from bird flu, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Bird flu typically sickens poultry and human cases are considered rare. The World Health Organization says humans can become infected with the illness from direct or indirect exposure to infected live or dead animals. Farmers who work with poultry, travelers to affected areas, people who touch an infected bird, or those who eat meat, eggs or blood from infected birds may develop the disease.
At this time, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has no recommendations against travel to the countries affected by bird flu.
The disease has also been the focus of debate in the U.S. since last December, when government officials asked researchers not to publish two controversial studies that describe genetic mutations that can lead to a bird flu strain that infects humans. The panel was concerned terrorists may obtain information from these journal articles to use bird flu as a weapon.
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