Human death toll for bird flu reaches 100 in Indonesia

Other News Materials 29 January 2008 06:10 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - The human death toll from bird flu in Indonesia has risen to 100, after two more people died over the weekend from the H5N1 strain of the disease, a Health Ministry official said Tuesday.

Two Indonesians from the outskirts of Jakarta succumbed on Sunday, said Joko Suyono of the Health Ministry's Bird Flu Centre.

Suyono said that the victims were a 9-year-old boy from West Java's depok municipality, just south of Jakarta, and a 23-year-old woman from West Java's Bekasi district, just east of the capital.

He said the new deaths bring Indonesia's bird-flu death toll to 100 among the 124 diagnosed human 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 deaths in Indonesia, 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. Bird flu remains mainly an animal disease, but 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.