Bali's first human bird-flu victim.
Bali's first confirmed human victim of H5N1 bird flu, Ni Luh Putu Sri Windiani, is transported in a sealed coffin from Sanglah hospital in Denpasar. The 29-year-old woman from Tukadaye village in Jembrana died on 12 August. Her death brings Indonesia's total number of fatalities from bird flu to 82, and hits its main tourist destination while it is still reeling from terrorist incidents.
Windiani's five-year-old daughter Dian developed a fever after playing with chickens, and died on 3 August. Tests have not been carried out on Dian, who has already been buried. Indonesia's bird flu commission is waiting for test results from a 2-year-old girl living nearby who is also suspected of having bird flu.
In recent weeks many chickens had become sick and died suddenly in Tukadaye, and instead of burning the carcasses, the villagers fed them to pigs or buried them, officials say. This is of special concern, because scientists think that pigs infected with both avian flu viruses and human flu viruses are a likely source of the pandemic versions that periodically kill millions of people across the globe.
“The situation is bad,” Chairul Nidom, a virologist at Airlangga University in Surabaya, Java, told Nature. “We don't know yet how the infections happened. Maybe they passed though another animal.”
A law preventing H5N1-infected poultry entering Bali was revoked in July by the Home Ministry.
Related links in Nature Research
Bird flu spreads among Java's pigs
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Bird flu outbreaks in Indonesia going unstudied
Bird flu data languish in Chinese journals
Related external links
Travel Advice for Indonesia - Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
International Travel Information: Indonesia
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Cyranoski, D. Trouble in paradise. Nature 448, 738 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1038/448738a