Suspected Bird Flu Victim Dies in Indonesia's Bali

by VR Sreeraman on Aug 22 2007 2:29 PM

A 28-year-old Indonesian woman suspected of being infected with the bird flu virus died on the resort island of Bali on Tuesday, a health ministry official said.

"She tested positive for bird flu in the local lab. We are waiting to confirm it here," said an official from the health ministry's bird flu information centre in Jakarta.

Two tests must come back positive for the H5N1 virus before a victim is confirmed as part of the official bird flu death toll in Indonesia.

The woman worked as a chicken trader, the Detikcom online news agency reported. Transmission usually occurs directly from birds to humans.

If confirmed, the woman, Ayu Srinadi, would be the country's 84th bird flu fatality. The toll is the highest of anywhere in the world.

The first human bird flu death on Bali was confirmed last week and has raised fears of a possible negative impact on tourism, though the affected Jembrana district in the island's northwest is far from major tourist centres.

Thousands of birds have been culled since then as a precautionary measure and poultry has been banned from being transported in or out of the district for one month.

Avian influenza was found in poultry on Bali more than a year ago.

H5N1 is endemic in birds across nearly all of Indonesia.