( dpa ) - A 9-year-old boy from West Java died from the H5N1 strain of the avian influenza virus, bringing Indonesia's bird flu death toll to 99, the world's highest, Health Ministry officials said on Monday.
The boy, identified as MIY, died on Sunday at Jakarta's Sulianto Saroso Infectious Disease Hospital, said Joko Suyono, an official at the ministry's bird flu information centre.
The boy fell sick January 16 and sought medical treatment a week later at Sentra Medika Hospital in western Jakarta before being admitted Friday to Sulianti Saroso Hospital, designated to treat bird flu patients in Jakarta and surrounding areas.
"Test results confirm he had been suffering from bird flu," Suyono said
Investigators were still trying to determine how the boy was exposed to the virus, but a chicken-slaughtering site was located in his neighbourhood, he said.
His death was Indonesia's 99th out of 123 diagnosed cases of H5N1, the strain of bird flu. Both figures are the highest in the world.
Before the latest death, the World Health Organization had confirmed at least 217 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 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.