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Wednesday February 22, 2006
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) _ A 27-year-old Indonesian woman died from bird flu, a senior health ministry official said Wednesday, citing local test results.
The woman, who died on Monday in the capital Jakarta, had a history of contact with chickens that were infected with the H5N1 virus, Hariadi Wibisono said.
Blood and swab samples from the woman were sent to a World Health Organization accredited laboratory in Hong Kong for confirmation of the local lab results, Wibisono said.
The WHO has so far confirmed 19 bird flu fatalities in Indonesia, second only to Vietnam, which has had 42 deaths. Worldwide, it has confirmed 170 human cases, including 92 deaths, since 2003 _ mostly in east Asia.
The agency says it remains difficult for humans to catch H5N1, with most cases traced to direct contact with sick birds. But experts fear that the virus could mutate into a form that is easily transmitted from person to person and set off a flu pandemic.
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