January 28, 2008 / 1:05 PM / 10 years ago

Indonesia bird flu death toll hits 100

(Adds toll hits 100, details)

JAKARTA, Jan 28 (Reuters) - A 23-year-old Indonesian woman from East Jakarta has died from bird flu, taking the country’s death toll to 100, according to a report from Indonesia’s bird flu information centre on Monday.

The woman died on Sunday and two separate laboratory tests confirmed she contracted H5N1, the report said.

Earlier on Monday, a 9-year-old Indonesian boy who had tested positive for bird flu died, the health ministry said in a statement.

The boy from the outskirts of Jakarta died at the Sulianto Saroso hospital on Sunday after being treated in different hospitals for two weeks, said Joko Suyono, an official at the ministry’s bird flu information centre.

It was not known how the boy contracted the disease.

Indonesia has had the highest number of human deaths from bird flu of any country.

A 31-year-old woman and 32-year-old man hospitalised at Persahabatan hospital for fever and respiratory problems also tested positive for the deadly H5N1 virus on Monday, the ministry said.

According to the statement, the woman lived in East Jakarta near a poultry slaughterhouse that kept many fowl believed to be the source of her H5N1 infection.

The man from Tangerang, west of Jakarta, is believed to have contracted H5N1 from his neighbour’s pet doves, the ministry said.

Contact with sick fowl is the most common way of contracting bird flu, endemic in bird populations in most of Indonesia.

Although bird flu remains an animal disease, experts fear the virus could mutate into a form easily passed from human to human and kill millions.

Suyono said there are no obvious explanations for the sudden surge of cases. "We need to carry more tests and investigation first to be really sure." (Reporting by Mita Valina Liem and Adhityani Arga; Editing by Sara Webb and Jerry Norton)

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