World Health Organization officials continue to investigate the death of seven people from the same family in Indonesia who all died of the bird flu. It was first believed that one family member may have come in contact with sick or dead infected chickens before possibly passing the virus on to relatives. But at this point, experts have been unable to link the family members to any bird exposure.
Lab tests have shown that the virus has not mutated into a version that could easily jump from person to person. Meanwhile, Health and Human Secretary Mike Leavitt told the Senate he wouldn't be surprised if the virus turns up in wild birds or even domestic flocks here in the US within months. Leavitt also says there is no reason for Americans to panic or even change their routine.
"Poultry, when properly cooked, is safe. Cooking kills the virus. And there's not a reason for people to reduce, for example, their consumption of poultry out of worry because of avian influenza," said Leavitt.
While the virus has killed hundreds of millions of birds worldwide in the past several years a little over 200 people have become infected. Almost all had been in close contact with infected birds.