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Bird flu victim had no contact with poultry

A six-year-old Indonesian boy who recently died of bird flu had no apparent contact with poultry, according to an agriculture ministry official.

The boy from Cilegon in Banten province, west of the capital Jakarta, was Indonesia's 81st bird flu victim. Contact with infected birds is the obvious and most common form of transmission of the deadly virus to humans.

Memed Zulkarnaen, director of the agriculture ministry's bird flu unit, has said that there was no infected poultry within a radius of up to 300 metres from the boy's home.

"The Indonesian medical community is still puzzled and does not understand from which source the victim was infected with the bird flu virus. We are puzzled because the H5N1 virus needs to 'stick' to an object such as poultry and cannot freely circulate in the air," he said.

It has been asked whether there was a possibility the boy had contracted the virus from another person. Zulkarnaen said it was too premature to tell and investigations involving personnel from the UN's health and agriculture agencies were ongoing.

 

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