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Indonesia's Bird Flu Death Toll Rises to 72

A 23-year-old woman has died of bird flu in Indonesia, bringing the country's total number of human deaths from the H5N1 strain //of the virus to 72, the world's highest, a health official said Wednesday.

The female was from Central Jakarta and died on April 1, several hours after being brought to Jakarta's Persahabatan Hospital, which is designated to treat bird-flu patients, said Wibosono of the Health Ministry's bird-flu centre.

"Two local tests for her came back positive," Wibosono, who like many Indonesian goes by only one name, told DPA.

Wibosono said her death brings the toll from the H5N1 virus in Indonesia to 72 deaths from 92 human cases, the highest in the world in bird-flu deaths. Vietnam is second with 42 deaths but has not had a human death from the virus in more than a year.

The number of bird flu cases has increased rapidly in Indonesia. This year alone, the H5N1 avian influenza virus has claimed the lives of 15 people in the country. Last week Jakarta announced five new deaths from bird flu.

Alarmed by a sudden spike in bird-flu deaths early this year, the Indonesian government declared a ban on backyard poultry farms in residential areas of nine provinces.

Source-IANS/L
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