January 14, 2008 / 9:48 AM / 12 years ago

Indonesian woman dies of bird flu - health official

JAKARTA, Jan 14 (Reuters) - A Indonesian woman from an area just west of the capital Jakarta has died of bird flu, taking the country’s confirmed human death toll from the virus to 95, a health ministry official said on Monday.

The 32-year-old woman from Tangerang died at her home last Thursday after her family had taken her out of a hospital where she had been receiving treatment a day before, said Suharda Ningrum of the health ministry’s bird flu centre.

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

"She bought a live chicken and some eggs from a market and cooked them," Ningrum said, adding there were also chickens living in her backyard.

Two tests at two different laboratories confirmed the H5N1 virus.

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.

On Christmas day, a 24-year-old woman from Jakarta also died from the virus after buying a live chicken from a market.

Last week, a teenager suffering from bird flu was admitted to a hospital in Jakarta.

An official at the hospital said that the teenager was stable, but was still on a respirator to help her breathe.

Indonesia, which has now had 118 cases of the disease in humans, has had the most number of deaths from bird flu of any country.

Excluding the latest case, there have been 349 cases and 216 deaths from the disease globally since 2003, according to World Health Organisation data.

(Reporting by Mita Valina Liem; editing by Ed Davies)

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