Monday, February 27, 2012

12-year-old boy dies of bird flu on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali

BALI, Indonesia — A 12-year-old boy has died of bird flu on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, bringing the human death toll in the country worst hit by the illness to 154 since 2005, a health official said.

Rita Kusriastuti, an official at Indonesia’s health ministry, said Saturday that the boy died Tuesday after suffering high fever and breathing difficulties for more than a week. Tests showed the boy was infected with the H5N1 virus.

The boy is suspected to have had indirect contact with poultry, Kusriastuti said. He was the fourth person to die of bird flu in Indonesia this year.

Statistics show that while avian influenza is still active in Indonesia, the number of cases is on the decline. Last year saw nine fatalities, the lowest number of human deaths from bird flu in Indonesia since 2005.

Bird flu has killed at least 347 people worldwide since it began ravaging poultry stocks in 2003. Indonesia is the worst-affected country, with 185 confirmed infections.