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Woman's Death From Avian Flu Lifts Indonesia's Death Toll to 66
posted by admin on 20/03/07

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- An Indonesian woman died of bird flu yesterday, a health official said, raising the toll in the country worst hit by the virus to 66.

The 21-year-old victim died after two weeks of hospitalization in the East Java town of Surabaya, said Nyoman Kandun of the Health Ministry, adding that the victim had a history of contact with infected chickens.

The H5N1 strain of bird flu has prompted the slaughter of millions of birds across Asia since late 2003, and caused the deaths of at least 169 people world-wide, more than a third of them in Indonesia, according to the World Health Organization.

Most people who have died so far had contact with infected domestic fowl, and the virus remains hard for humans to catch. But experts fear it could mutate into a form that easily spreads among humans, possibly sparking a global pandemic with the potential to kill millions.

Indonesia, accused by some international experts of moving too slowly to combat the virus, is to host a meeting this month of Asian health ministers and WHO officials to discuss bird flu and efforts to develop vaccines.

In Thailand, meanwhile, a fresh outbreak of H5N1 has been found in poultry in the northeastern part of the country, livestock officials said.

The outbreak of H5N1 was confirmed by laboratory tests after the deaths of about 50 ducks and chickens were reported March 9 in Mukdahan, a province bordering Laos, said Phirom Srichan, director of the Agricultural Ministry's Department of Livestock Development.

This was Thailand's fourth outbreak in poultry this year since cases in January became the first reported in nearly six months.

Source: WSJ. com

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