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Possible Human To Human Transmission of Bird Flu In Indonesia - Cluster - Stock Up On Disaster Supplies Recommended By US Authorities

May 18th 2006

Possible Human To Human Transmission of Bird Flu In Indonesia - Cluster - Stock Up On Disaster Supplies Recommended By US Authorities

WHO Threat Chart

The World Health Organization (WHO) has not ruled out human-to-human transmission in a recent outbreak of the H5N1 avian flu.  Six family members have died since they met at a family gathering on April 29th, while a seventh victim is still alive.  This is the largest cluster of cases, closely related in time and place, reported to date. 

The researchers are not sure how the initial case was contracted.   Almost all human H5N1 cases have been linked to close contact with sick or dead birds.  The WHO speculates that these cases may have been due to a “shared environmental exposure”. 


One fatal case involved a 38-year old woman in the city of Surabaya, East Java.  The other six cases were from a village, Kubu Sembelang, in the Karo district of North Sumatra. It is believed that one of these family members, a 37 year old woman, was the initial case. 

According to the WHO, the six confirmed cases in Sumatra include the woman’s two sons, aged 15 and 17 years, who died respectively on 9 May and 12 May. The 28-year-old sister of the initial case died on 10 May. This sister had an 18-month-old girl, who died on 14 May. The fifth confirmed case, who is still alive, is the 25-year-old brother of the initial case. The sixth confirmed case is the 10-year-old nephew of the initial case. He died on 13 May.


This brings the total cases in Indonesia to 40, of which 31 have been fatal.  Investigators have found no evidence that the virus has spread outside the family.  If human-to-human transmission has occurred, it has not been either efficient or sustained.  The WHO ranks the seriousness of the avian influenza on their website.  So far, we are in a stage of “No or very limited human-to-human transmission”. 

Hopefully the H5N1 does not mutate to a form easily transmitted from human to human in our lifetime.  If it does, experts believe there could be chaos and our hospital system could become quickly overwhelmed.  It is recommended that Americans store at least 2 weeks worth of food and water just in case any disaster occurs.  The Associated Press reports that the latest government response plan includes a suggestion that coworkers stay 3 feet away from each other and not shake hands.


Authorities also say that shutting the U.S. border will not prevent the pandemic from striking us.  They say that people can spread the flu a full day before they show symptoms and 1.1 million people enter the country legally each day. 

There are some things we can do as individuals, like stay home from work if possible.  The Internet has made this easier than ever, and some companies have already considered this option.

According to a recent ABC News Nightline broadcast, grocery stores may provide home deliveries.  It still may be a good idea to stock-up in the event that there are delivery delays.  Stocking up on freeze-dried fruits, flour, condensed or dry milk, water, canned fruits and vegetables, water and other non or slow perishable goods may be a good idea.       

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Dan Wilson
Best Syndication

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Important:  The material on Best Syndication is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. You should promptly seek professional medical care if you have any concern about your health, and you should always consult your physician before starting a fitness program.

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