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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Indonesia : Bird flu alert raised after death of Jakarta siblings

Via The Jakarta Post, excerpt :

" PDY brought a sick pigeon to his home last December in Sunter Agung, Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta, oblivious to the dangers of contact with fowl that might carry the lethal H5N1 virus.

The 23-year-old, who was known to love pigeons, had offered to look after the sick bird, which belonged to his friend. He tried to heal the bird, but to no avail. He then took it to a car repair shop near the Sulianti Suroso Hospital, a referral infirmary for bird flu patients, where he had kept other pigeons.

The bird died on Dec. 31, but on New Year’s Eve, PDY had a high fever. The family thought he had a usual fever and gave him pills, but only to find his condition worsening. He was eventually taken to Satya Negara Hospital, wherein he was diagnosed as having symptoms of bird flu. He died a few days later.

While his relatives mourned his death, his five-year-old sister, identified as ASR, was rushed to Persahabatan Hospital in East Jakarta after showing similar symptoms.

She was initially cleared of the H5N1 infection, but further tests proved she was bird flu positive. She died on Jan. 16, but this was only revealed by the Health Ministry on Thursday.

Their mother, Sriyati, refused to talk to journalists about the deaths of her children, saying, “It’s just very sad. I can’t remember much about how they became infected.”

Radi Permana, a relative of the victims, told The Jakarta Post that PDY and ASR were very close. “He often took his sister to the car repair shop and showed her the pigeons,” he said.

Risa, who lives next door to the siblings, said that the family became reclusive after the loss of their children.

The neighbors were also told that ASR did not die of bird flu, but of dengue. “Somehow, we knew that she died from bird flu,” another neighbor, who declined to be named, said. “But we understand why they don’t want to tell people about it."

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