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Suspected bird flu cases in three children JAKARTA - Three Indonesian children are suspected to be the latest victims of bird flu, which the Asian Development Bank said on Thursday could trigger a global recession if a pandemic breaks out. Underlining the increasing urgency in tackling the H5N1 avian flu virus, the United States and China announced new efforts to fight a possible pandemic, including $500 million to monitor the virus in poultry.

Five Southeast Asian nations also said they would boost cooperation to fight the virus, which has killed 62 people in Asia and infected 122 since late 2003. The disease has since spread to Europe and it is feared migratory birds could carry it to Africa. The ADB said a year-long shock from bird flu in humans would cost Asian economies as much as $283 billion and would reduce the region's gross domestic product by 6.5 percentage points, hitting the trading hubs of Hong Kong and Singapore the hardest.

"Avian flu presents a major potential challenge to the development of the region, perhaps the most serious since the financial crisis of 1997," said the Manila-based ADB. "A pandemic will likely slow or halt economic growth in Asia and lead to a significant reduction in trade, particularly of services. In the long run, potential economic growth will be lower and poverty will increase."

The World Bank, in its twice-yearly report on East Asia's economies, said on Thursday avian flu was a big risk to growth in 2006 due to potential policy actions such as quarantines and travel restrictions. In Indonesia, where four people have died of bird flu since July, Health Minister Siti Fadillah Supari said three children, all under the age of 5, had high fever, shortness of breath and signs of viral infection.

Asked by a reporter whether test results had been received, Supari said: "Not yet, maybe in two or three days hopefully, because this is a holiday, but looking at the symptoms ... there's a large possibility that it is bird flu." In Vietnam, the country hardest hit by the virus, a senior health official ruled out bird flu as the cause of last week's deaths of two people, state newspapers said.

But they said a 25-year-old woman was in hospital with suspected bird flu. Hospital officials had told Reuters a 14-year-old girl and a 26-year-old man who died last week had symptoms of bird flu. Doctors have said they did not do any tests and it was unclear how officials ruled out bird flu as the cause of death. Bird flu has infected more than 90 people in Vietnam and 41 have died since the latest outbreak in Asia began in late 2003. Experts fear the virus could mutate into a form easily passed between people and unleash a pandemic.


Link to related event Related event:
Bird flu in Indonesia

Related blog entries (category 'Bird Flu') Related blog entries (category 'Bird Flu'):
01 November 2005 · Govt steps up wild bird watch against avian flu
27 October 2005 · Veterinary students to hunt down bird flu-infected chickens
25 October 2005 · Human bird flu cases confirmed in Indonesia, Thailand
24 October 2005 · U.N. urging to take stronger action against bird flu
21 October 2005 · Claims of bird flu cover-up in Indonesia


Posted in Bird Flu @ 03 November 2005 14:53 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink





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