Indonesian woman dies of bird flu, 4 others treated

Friday, January 12, 2007; 12:25 AM

JAKARTA, Indonesia (Reuters) - A 37-year-old Indonesian woman has died of bird flu and four people have been treated for symptoms of the disease, a hospital official said on Friday.

The woman, from Serpong town in western Java, had been diagnosed as positive for the virus earlier this week. Her death takes the country's human death toll from bird flu to 59.

"The woman died yesterday at 7:35 p.m. (1235 GMT) because of organs malfunction which is caused by (bird flu) virus H5N1," Muchtar Ichsan, chief of bird flu management at Persahabatan Hospital in Jakarta, told Reuters.

The woman's husband and their son as well as two other women had been treated since Thursday at the same hospital for bird flu symptoms, he added.

The women have been placed on a respiratory device and their condition is not good, he said.

One of them, aged 22, had tested positive for bird flu, while results for the others were still pending, said Runizar Ruesin, head of the bird flu information center at the health ministry.

Indonesia leads the world in bird flu deaths, and has had 76 confirmed cases.

Officials say efforts to contain the virus are having some success and the number of provinces where it is present in fowl, the usual source of human infection, has fallen sharply.

Health ministry official Joko Suyono told Reuters earlier in the week that the woman who has since died had bought a live chicken and slaughtered it at her house, but it was unclear whether this was the cause of the infection.

© 2007 Reuters