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Indonesia braces for Kawasaki virus JAKARTA - Hot on the heels of the polio and avian influenza outbreaks, Indonesia is back on alert for a new virus that has reportedly struck a child victim, a health official said on Thursday. Director general of disease control and environmental health at the Ministry of Health I Nyoman Kandun said the ministry was working to confirm the presence of the Kawasaki Disease (KD) virus in Indonesia following a report of a child who fell sick allegedly after contracting the virus.

The child is currently being treated for heart problems at the Harapan Kita Hospital, West Jakarta. "I've heard about the possibility of the virus spreading here and we're now examining it. We will ask for the child's medical reports from the hospital," Kandun was quoted as saying by Antara. The KD virus, which is believed not to be highly contagious, mostly strikes children aged nine to 12 years old. It causes prolonged fever and severe skin lumps.

"If it turns out positive, we will then need to know if the virus came from within or outside of the country," Kandun said. He said the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized the virus, which apparently originated in Japan and infected the respiratory system and lungs of mainly children. Kandun asserted that there had never been any previous reports of the virus entering Indonesia. However, he emphasized that several viruses from outside the country had indeed managed to stream into Indonesia over the past year.

The country has been on a high alert after the re-emergence of several viral diseases, mainly polio and avian influenza. The polio virus, believed to have been transported into the country by people traveling back from Middle Eastern countries, has struck over a hundred and fifty children in many parts of the country, 10 years after the country had been declared free of the disease.

Indonesia is now fighting the recurrence of avian influenza virus, more popularly known as bird flu, which has also created anxiety among the public after the recent deaths of three people. The government said the virus had affected 21 of 33 provinces. According to the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Tennessee College in Chattanooga, United States, conditions caused by the KD virus are generally completely curable, but serious complications can appear in some cases.

Although the virus is not contagious by nature, several cases have shown that some people can become infected by intense contact with the sufferers. Symptoms of KD virus infection include high fever for several days, which is followed with mild changes in the mouth, such as in the color of throat or tongue. Besides that, finger skin starts to peel two or three weeks after the first infection, and lymph glands in the neck become swollen. Other symptoms that may come with the infection include diarrhea, pain in the spinal column, and skin turning yellow.



Posted in Health @ 29 July 2005 07:18 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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