Japan gives Indonesia emergency medical equipment to fight bird-flu

Japan was handing over emergency medical supplies to Indonesia on Wednesday to help tackle a bird flu outbreak that has killed four people in the sprawling archipelago, officials said.

Much of the equipment valued at 25 million yen (US$216,000; Ђ180,300) will be used to upgrade laboratories so that health officials can identify and track down the origin of the virus.

A high-speed refrigerated microcentrifuge, personal protective gear and agents for diagnosis were unloaded from trucks on Wednesday, said an Indonesian health ministry official.

"The Japanese government is very concerned, just like many other foreign governments, about bird flu," Erna Tresnaningshi told reporters. "They don't want the virus to spread to their countries."

The H5N1 strain of bird flu has swept through poultry populations across Asia since 2003, resulting in the deaths of tens of millions of chickens.

More than 60 humans have also died from the disease, with a fourth recorded in Indonesia on Tuesday, reports the AP.


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