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Bird flu death toll mounts in Indonesia, worldwide

JAKARTA, December 11 (RIA Novosti) - A woman has died of bird flu in Jakarta, Indonesia, bringing the death toll in the Southeast Asian country to almost 100, the Xinhua news agency said on Tuesday.

The 28 year-old woman was admitted to the Persahabatan Hospital with severe pneumonia and high fever on Saturday and died early on Monday morning. She was the 92nd person to die from the disease in Indonesia since the first report of bird flu infecting a human in 2005.

"Test results by the Health Ministry's research and development center confirm that she tested positive for the H5N1 virus," the agency quoted a senior official at the country's health ministry as saying.

The woman came from Tangerang, a city some 20 km (12 miles) west of Jakarta. The satellite city has reported three lethal cases of bird flu since October, and a group of experts is currently attempting to establish the source of infection.

It is still unclear whether the woman had contact with infected birds or poultry, but her neighbors are said to keep chickens. Another theory is that the woman, who made her living by selling ornamental plants, may have used infected fowl manure as a fertilizer.

Bird flu is spread through the bodily fluids of infected creatures.

According to a World Health Organization report on confirmed cases of avian influenza (H5N1), Indonesia is the worst-hit country, with 91 deaths registered since 2005. A total of 207 deaths have been registered worldwide by the organization since 2003.

In 1918, a flu pandemic killed over 20 million people worldwide, and health experts fear another pandemic could be imminent.

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