Okay, I'll be honest, I'm not quite sure what a "cluster" is, I think it just means a bunch of related cases. However, this new development is very distressing, I think we just might be at the tipping point here folks; a dozen or so more H5N1 infections and we could be looking at a pandemic. Here's the report from Bloomberg:
"Jan. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Bird flu infected an 18-year-old man in Indonesia whose mother died of the disease three days ago, creating a new cluster of infections that doctors are monitoring for signs the virus is becoming more adept at infecting humans.
The teenager from Tangerang, in Banten province, tested positive for the H5N1 strain of avian influenza, said Mukhtar Ikhsan, a doctor at Jakarta's Persahabatan hospital, which is treating the man and seven other suspected cases, including the man's 42-year-old father.
"Results may be announced within a few days by the Health Ministry,'' Ikhsan said over the telephone today. Tests are pending on six others being treated in the hospital for suspected avian flu. Another four suspected cases are being treated in a hospital in Bandung city, in West Java province.
Avian flu has killed four people in Indonesia since Jan. 10 after a hiatus of almost two months. World health officials say H5N1 may touch off a lethal pandemic capable of killing millions if it mutates to become as infectious to humans as seasonal flu.
The H5N1 strain is known to have infected 265 people in 10 countries since 2003, killing 159 of them, the World Health Organization said on Jan. 12. Indonesia has recorded at least 59 fatalities, it said."
Assuming all the suspected cases turn out positive, that's 12 fresh H5N1 cases whithin a week. Cluster be damned, I'm calling it an outbreak. Personally, it's unlikely that all these cases are the result of direct contact with diseased birds, there has to have been some human to human transmission. 3 idiots touching dead birds in a week I can believe, but 12?!? Something else has to be going on here.
I would also hate to see Persahabatan Hospital become a breeding ground for the bird flu, I guess we just have to assume that by "isolation" they really mean it.
I mean, why shouldn't we give Indonesia the benefit of the doubt? Just because they barely responded to the threat and only did it after it was two years too late, and cover-up as much as they can with their Avian Flu Propoganda Division - that doesn't mean they would have any reason to lie about the conditions of their hospitals - the hospitals where more people have died of bird flu in than any other nation in the world...
I'm sure everything is under control and these cases pose no threat of further contagion.