Indonesian boy dies of bird flu, woman sickened from virus

A young Indonesian boy died from bird flu on Monday, bringing the country's death toll to 56, while a woman infected with the virus was being treated in hospital, the health ministry said.

The two patients lived in different towns on the outskirts of the capital Jakarta and had not been in contact with each other, according to the Health Ministry's bird flu information center.

Indonesia has logged more deaths from bird flu than any other country.

The sprawling island nation has been accused of doing too little to fight the disease since it first appeared in poultry stocks and backyard chickens three years ago.

The 2 1/2-year-old boy who died Monday was admitted to Jakarta's infectious diseases hospital a day earlier, said an official with the Health Ministry who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing ministry rules.

She said initial reports suggested the boy and the 35-year-old woman caught the H5N1 virus from infected birds, reports AP.

Most of those killed around the world by bird flu have been infected by domestic fowl, but WHO fears the virus could mutate into a form that easily spreads among humans, sparking a pandemic with the potential to kill millions.

Indonesia is trying to step up its fight against bird flu, focusing on beating the virus in poultry stocks, either by slaughtering birds or vaccination, but is facing resistance from farmers and residents.

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