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Indonesia reports 94th bird flu death

A 24-year-old Indonesian woman has died of bird flu in Jakarta, bringing the toll in the nation worst hit by the H5N1 virus to 94.

world Updated: Dec 26, 2007 08:53 IST

A 24-year-old Indonesian woman has died of bird flu in the capital Jakarta, the health ministry said on Wednesday, bringing the toll in the nation worst hit by the H5N1 virus to 94.

"The woman died on Christmas Day early in the morning and tested positive for bird flu," Muhammad Nadhirin, an official with the ministry's bird flu information centre, told AFP.

She tested positive to two laboratory tests, he said. Two tests must be carried out on victims in Indonesia before they are confirmed as being infected with highly pathogenic H5N1.

The woman, identified only by her initials DF, fell sick with bird flu symptoms on December 14 and was admitted to Cengkareng hospital in West Jakarta on December 19, where she later died, Nadhirin said.

"We are still investigating the source of her infection. We haven't got any information on whether she had been in contact with infected poultry," he added.

Humans are typically infected with bird flu by coming into direct contact with infected poultry, but experts fear the H5N1 virus may mutate into a form easily transmissible between humans.

Scientists fear that such a development would likely spark a global pandemic with a potential death toll of millions.