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Indonesia has described an outbreak of bird flu in its capital Jakarta as an epidemic after a five-year-old girl suspected of having the virus died.
Health Minister Siti Fadillah Supari said sporadic human cases of bird flu had surfaced in recent months in and around parts of Jakarta, home to 12 million people.
"This can be described as an epidemic. These (cases) will happen again as long as we cannot determine the source," Ms Supari said, but she insisted it would be wrong to label it a "frightening epidemic".
Four Indonesians are already confirmed to have died in recent months from the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of bird flu, which has killed a total of 64 people in four Asian countries since late 2003 and has spread to Russia and Europe.
The UN health agency last week warned bird flu was moving towards a form that could be passed between human beings and the world had no time to waste to prevent a pandemic.
Ms Supari said the girl who died earlier in a Jakarta hospital today had been suspected of suffering from the virus.
At least six other patients are in the same hospital suspected of having avian flu.
Originally posted by Uncle Joe
snip...What is more worrying is the fact that the WHO only has 80,000 does of anti flu treatments to give to poor nations. This is nowhere near enough to deal with a major outbreak.