Bird flu claims third victim this year in Indonesia

February 21, 2012

Tests on a 19-year-old woman who died last week showed she had contracted the bird flu virus, Indonesia's third human death from the deadly disease this year, the health ministry said Tuesday.

Concerns about avian influenza have risen in the region with China, Cambodia and Vietnam all reporting deaths from the this year.

The latest Indonesian victim died on February 13, a day after being admitted to a hospital in Tangerang district on the outskirts of the capital Jakarta, the ministry said.

Tests on the victim after she died confirmed she had contracted the virus, but a health ministry team that surveyed her house and neighbourhood was unable to determine its source.

The ministry added the woman had a fever for four days before arriving at the hospital.

Indonesia recorded two fatalities in Jakarta in January. The country has been the hardest-hit by , with 150 deaths reported between 2003 and 2011, according to the .

Nine Indonesians died from the virus last year, including two children on the resort island of Bali in October, according to authorities.

The virus typically spreads from birds to humans through direct contact, but experts fear it could mutate into a form easily transmissible between humans, with the potential to kill millions in a pandemic.

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