Indonesia hit hard by bird flu

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Indonesia averaged one human bird flu death every 21/2 days in May, putting it on pace to soon surpass Vietnam as the world’s hardest-hit country.

The latest death, announced Wednesday, was a 15-year-old boy whose preliminary tests were positive for the H5N1 virus.

“We’re tying to fix this leak in the roof, and there’s a storm,” World Health Organization spokesman Dick Thompson said. “The storm is that the virus is in animals almost everywhere and the lack of effective attention that’s being addressed to the problem.”

Indonesia has logged at least 36 deaths from bird flu in the past year – 25 since January – and is expected to soon eclipse Vietnam’s 42 fatalities. The two countries make up the bulk of the world’s 127 total deaths since the virus began spreading in late 2003.

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