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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 August 2006, 09:23 GMT 10:23 UK
Indonesians 'cleared of bird flu'
Indonesian Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari talks to one of the children who tested negative
The health minister said the people had normal flu
A group of people from the same village who were hospitalised in Indonesia with suspected bird flu have tested negative for the virus, officials say.

Local tests showed samples taken from the patients were negative for the H5N1 virus, a health ministry official said.

The group is from Karo district in Northern Sumatra, where seven members of one family died of the virus in May.

The deaths sparked fears that the virus was mutating to enable human to human transmission, but this was ruled out.

Officials had feared that the Karo group constituted a new cluster of cases.

"The results of the specimens... turned out to be negative, therefore no H5N1 virus was found in the specimens," Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari told reporters.

She said the group were suffering from normal flu.

On Wednesday officials said there were seven suspected cases, but have now revised this number to six.

QUICK GUIDE

Indonesia has seen more bird flu deaths this year than any other country.

In July, the country recorded its 42nd human bird flu death, the same total as in Vietnam.

Globally, more than 130 people have died of bird flu since late 2003. Most of the deaths have been in East Asia, but the virus has also spread to Europe, Africa and South and Central Asia.

Experts fear that the virus could mutate to a form which could be easily passed from human to human, triggering a pandemic and potentially putting millions of lives at risk.




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