The death of another suspected bird flu patient has put health officials in Bali on a high alert amid fears of a wider outbreak.
The woman, Ni Ketut Sariasih, died at Sanglah Public Hospital late Saturday, after being treated at Wangaya Public Hospital, Denpasar for two days before being moved to the Sanglah Hospital.
The 40-year old woman, is the third suspected bird flu patients to die in Bali over the past few days, and Dr. Putu Andrika, head of Sanglah Hospital's Bird Flu Control Team, says tests indicated that Sariasih has suffered from a lung infection.
Dr. Andrika says the hospital has sent a blood sample to Jakarta for testing in order to confirm whether or not she died of bird flu.
Sariasih first became sick on August 22nd but her relatives did not suspect that she might be infected with bird flu virus or H5N1 as there was no back-yard chicken or duck farming in the surrounding areas of her home.
However local health authorities had earlier sprayed disinfectant at a local bird market located near the patient's home and more than 6,000 fowl have been culled.
The outbreak has reportedly affected Bali's restaurant trade as many many hotels and restaurants have taken chicken off their menu, leading to a decline in demand for poultry.
But Dr. Ngurah Mahardika, head of Animal Biomedical and Molecular Biology laboratory at Udayana University says the initiative was not necessary as the danger is in raw meat not in the cooked meat.
As a result farmers whose livelihoods are based on raising poultry have suffered; a ban has been placed on chicken imports from East Java, while local farmers have been instructed to keep their chickens penned up.
Despite fears of a potential epidemic, Mr Suryawan says that the local community is uniting behind the Balinese government and community leaders to help stop the spread of bird flu.