Indonesian dies of bird flu, doves might be source
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - A 32-year-old Indonesian man who had tested positive for bird flu has died, a health ministry official said on Wednesday, adding the victim might have picked up the virus from doves in his neighbourhood.
The man, from Tangerang west of Jakarta, died on Tuesday at Jakarta's Persahabatan hospital, said Toto Haryanto from the ministry's bird flu centre.
His death takes the country's toll from the H5N1 bird flu virus to 101.
"He lived only 500 metres away from a flock of doves his neighbour kept as pets. We believe that's where he got the virus," Haryanto told Reuters by telephone.
Contact with sick birds is the most common way of contracting the virus, which is endemic in poultry populations in most of Indonesia.
The country's death toll hit 100 on Monday when two separate laboratory tests confirmed a 23-year-old woman from East Jakarta had died of bird flu.
Although H5N1 remains an animal disease, experts fear the virus could mutate into a form easily passed from human to human. Millions of people could die because they would have no immunity against the new strain.
Not including the latest death, bird flu has killed 223 people in a dozen countries since the virus reappeared in Asia in late 2003, according to World Heatlh Organisation data. (*) END