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Faster diagnostic kits in Indonesia only in March JAKARTA - With four deaths from bird flu in Indonesia since New Year's Day, the government announced that faster diagnostic kits would only be available in March. "We are expecting that this diagnostic kit will be able to detect symptoms in patients before they suffer heavy breathing," Indonesia's Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari was quoted as saying by Detik.com on Sunday. "The government will also increase the training for health officers on diagnosing and handling bird flu cases," she added.

Siti, speaking after a meeting at her official residence, said that many bird flu patients did not receive timely treatment because the symptoms were similar to common influenza. As of Sunday, Indonesia has had 61 bird flu deaths, contributing the greatest number to the world's total death toll of 161. The most recent victim was a 27-year-old woman from South Jakarta, who died Friday, a day after entering Persahabatan Hospital in East Jakarta for treatment.

The woman was reported to have undergone treatment in several hospitals before being referred to Persahabatan Hospital with suspected bird flu. With symptoms similar to the common flu, it often takes doctors some time to recognize the more dangerous virus. There has been an international effort to develop a fast and accurate diagnostic kit. In 2004, scientists in Hong Kong and China announced that they had developed a test that would detect bird flu infections in humans within two hours, while previous tests took three to five days to confirm.

Scientists in Singapore and the US have also announced the successful development of similar test kits. However, Siti said that the new test kit would not be useful if people did not go for medical checks if they had bird flu symptoms. Siti asked the local administrations, particularly the health agencies, to take a proactive approach. "I support the door-to-door check-ups being held by the local administrations, as they could decrease the number of bird flu victims," she said.

The government has designated 44 hospitals nationwide bird flu referral hospitals. Separately, the Health Ministry's director general for communicable diseases, I Nyoman Kandun, reminded those suffering from bird flu symptoms to go to the doctor. "It's best to go for a medical check-up just to make sure," he told The Jakarta Post. "Especially for people with a bird flu risk factor, such as those who live near bird farms," he added.

Kandun said people needed to be particularly careful with bird flu as not even international experts were able to diagnose it quickly without a diagnostic test. It only becomes clear that a person is suffering from bird flu when they develop heavy breathing, a sign of an advanced infection and one that usually leads to death. It is also difficult to time. "It could happen on the second, third, fourth, or fifth day after a person gets infected. It varies from one person to another," Kandun said.


Link to related event Related event:
Bird flu in Indonesia

Related blog entries (category 'Bird Flu') Related blog entries (category 'Bird Flu'):
14 January 2007 · Two more die from bird flu in Indonesia
12 January 2007 · Two more striken with bird flu In Indonesia
09 January 2007 · Bird flu raises its head again in Indonesia
07 January 2007 · Indonesia confirms 75th case of human bird flu infection
22 December 2006 · Bird flu hits tsunami-battered Aceh


Posted in Bird Flu @ 15 January 2007 11:59 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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