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Three Indonesian children may have bird flu

Indonesia’s health minister said that three children are showing symptoms of bird flu, Elshinta news radio reported.
/ Source: Reuters

Indonesia’s health minister said on Thursday that three children are showing symptoms of bird flu, Elshinta news radio reported.

It said the three, all under five years, were being treated at a hospital in Jakarta and quoted minister Siti Fadillah Supari as saying they showed such symptoms as high fever, shortness of breath and signs of viral infection.

Asked by a reporter whether test results had been received, Supari said: “Not yet, maybe in two or three days hopefully, because this is a holiday, but looking at the symptoms ... there’s a large possibility that it is bird flu.”

Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous nation, registered its first confirmed human death from bird flu in July. Four people have died of the disease and three have survived.

The disease is widespread among Indonesian’s chicken population, which the agriculture ministry has estimated at 1.4 billion.

The country is in the midst of holidays marking the end of the Muslim fasting month. Sapari was speaking at an event in her home marking the day.