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WHO Confirms Another Bird Flu Victim In Indonesia

UN health officials confirmed that a poultry worker in West Sumatra is infected with the bird flu virus, bringing the number of human cases in Indonesia to 33// , a health ministry official said Tuesday.

"We received the confirmation from WHO Tuesday morning," said Hariyadi Wibisono, director general of animal-borne disease control at the Indonesian health ministry. The 23-year-old poultry worker, identified as Achyan, was being treated in M. Djamil Hospital in Padang, the capital city of West Sumatra.

The confirmation by the WHO laboratory, at the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in the US, brought to 33 the number of human cases, 24 of them fatal.

Health officials have reported six known cluster cases so far in Indonesia - the highest in the world. The highly pathogenic strain of bird flu has affected birds in two-third of the country's 32 provinces.

Most human victims of bird flu have had direct or indirect contact with chickens, but scientists fear the virus will mutate into a strain that could be easily passed among people, causing a pandemic in which millions could die globally.

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