Woman's death brings Indonesia's bird-flu death toll to 95
( dpa ) - The death of a 32-year-old woman in West Java's Banten province has brought Indonesia's human death toll from bird flu to 95, the world's highest, Health Ministry officials said Monday.
The woman, identified only by her initials, TM, was from Tanggerang district town, just west of Jakarta, and died Thursday, said Joko Suyono, an official at the ministry's bird-flu information centre.
The woman fell sick January 3 and sought medical treatment six days later at a nearby health clinic before being admitted to Sari Asih Hospital in Tanggerang district with fever, respiratory problems and pneumonia, Suyono said.
The family brought her back home, ignoring the advice of doctors to keep her in hospital, and she died a day later, he said.
"Test results confirm she had been suffering from bird flu," Suyono said
Investigators were still trying to determine how the woman was exposed to the virus, the official said, adding, however, that her neighbourhood is home to backyard farming.
Her death was Indonesia's 95th out of 118 diagnosed cases of H5N1, the strain of bird flu that can be deadly in humans. Both figures are the highest in the world.
Before the latest death in Indonesia, the World Health Organization had confirmed at least 216 deaths in 12 countries in Asia and Africa.
The most common way to contract the H5N1 virus is through contact with infected fowl. Although bird flu remains mainly an animal disease, experts said they fear the virus could mutate into a form that could spread easily from human to human, turning into a pandemic that could kill millions of people.