JAKARTA (Reuters) - An Indonesian woman who lived near a poultry slaughterhouse on the outskirts of the capital has died of bird flu, the health ministry said on Friday, the latest victim in a surge of cases this year.
The woman from Tangerang is the seventh person to die of bird flu in Indonesia this year. Some experts say the flare-up is caused by a combination of several factors such as rainy weather and poor sanitation.
The woman, 31, was being treated at a Jakarta hospital. She died of multiple-organ failure late on Thursday.
“The woman lived in a neighbourhood full of fowl. A slaughterhouse is not so far from her house,” Muhammad Nadirin of the bird flu centre told Reuters.
It remains unclear how she contracted the bird flu virus.
Her death brings the country’s death toll to 102, the highest of any nation.
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 H5N1 virus could mutate into a form easily passed from human to human. Millions of people could die because they would have no immunity to the new strain.
Not including the latest death, bird flu has killed 224 people in a dozen countries since late 2003, the World Health Organisation says.
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