Indonesia rules out human-to-human transmission of bird flu

Indonesia 's health minister on Friday ruled out human-to-human transmission of bird flu among four family members who died from the virus earlier this month on Sumatra island, saying they had been infected by poultry.

"According to local DNA sequencing tests, they got the virus ... from poultry," Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari said. She said she was awaiting confirmation from a World Health Organization-accredited laboratory in Hong Kong , but was confident the results would match.

The family members did not contract the H5N1 bird flu virus through human to human transmission, Supari told reporters.

Bird flu has killed at least 30 people in Indonesia and more than 100 people worldwide since it started sweeping through poultry populations in Asia three years ago.

WHO confirmed this week the death of the four family members and the infection of a fifth on Sumatra island from bird flu, raising concerns the virus might have mutated into a form easily passed between humans. Most human cases of bird flu have been linked to contact with infected poultry, reports the AP.

I.L.