Indonesia reports 77th bird flu death

Five-year-old dies of H5N1 strain; Vietnam reports man critically ill.

JAKARTA | May 23, 2007

A 5-year-old girl has died of the H5N1 strain of bird flu in Indonesia, the 77th person to die in that country which has the highest avian influenza death toll in the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Vietnam, meantime, confirmed that a 30-year-old man was hospitalized in critical condition after testing positive for the H5N1 strain. Vietnam, with 42 bird flu deaths recorded since 2003, has the second highest death toll from bird flu worldwide.

Bird flu outbreaks have been reported among fowl in southern, central and northern Vietnam.

WHO said that since 2003, there have been 306 cases of bird flu with 185 fatalities in 12 countries. Those numbers do not include the latest death in Indonesia. In that case, the youngster became ill on May 8 and died last Thursday.

The H5N1 strain has shown up in birds and animals but health officials fear that if it mutates, it could spread rapidly from person to person.

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