Published on February 11, 2007 at 5:16 PM
Indonesian health officials say a 20-year-old woman who tested positive for bird flu has died, making her the country's 64th human victim of the deadly H5N1 virus.
The woman had direct contact with infected chickens and died on Sunday in West Java province, a day after being diagnosed with the H5N1 strain of the virus.
Two of her neighbours are in hospital with symptoms of the virus.
The woman had the classic symptoms of bird flu, difficulty breathing and a high fever but was also suffering from pneumonia.
Local media have also reported the death of a 9-year-old boy at 4:30 p.m. also on Sunday in West Java, who was referred to Slamet Hospital on the advice of health officials on Sunday morning.
If confirmed he will be the country's 65th human victim of the virus.
Indonesia's first human case of the avian flu appeared in 2005 and since then 84 people have contracted the virus and 65 have died.
Indonesia has the highest human death toll in the world from the virus.
Although the virus does not as yet pose a large-scale threat to humans experts are concerned that should the virus mutate and acquire the ability to pass between humans a worldwide pandemic could result.
Administrators in provincial areas are being urged to follow Jakarta's lead and ban backyard poultry farming following the two deaths, and Health Minister I Nyoman Kandun says the deaths are a reminder that all poultry must be kept away from people and homes.
Kandun says the deep-rooted tradition of people living near their poultry was creating difficulties for the government in controlling the spread of the virus from birds to humans.