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Indonesian Woman Dies From Bird Flu; S Korea Announces Culling Plans


Indonesia's Health Ministry announced Saturday the death of another woman from Avian influenza, raising the country's death toll to 62. Meanwhile, South Korean officials are planning to slaughter hundreds of thousands of poultry to contain their own bird flu outbreak. VOA's Sean Maroney reports from Washington.

Health officials in Indonesia say another woman has died from bird flu, the fifth fatality in the country within the last two weeks.

Indonesia's Health Ministry announced that the 19-year-old victim died Friday after being hospitalized in the West Java town of Garut. Four other people died earlier in the month in the capital city of Jakarta.

On Friday, health officials began a campaign to clear several provinces of backyard chickens common to residential areas and downtown markets.

Jakarta's governor gave city residents two weeks to either sell or give up their birds in an attempt to curb the virus' spread.

Meanwhile, South Korean officials are set to cull more than a quarter of a million birds after a bird flu outbreak earlier in the week at a chicken farm in Cheonan.
Veterinary official Kim Chang-seob says the virus found is the same strain as South Korea's other recent outbreaks.

This is the country's fifth outbreak since last November.

South Korean officials will decide Sunday whether to kill nearly 400,000 other birds within a 10-kilometer radius of the latest outbreak.

Bird flu remains difficult for humans to catch. However, international experts fear the virus could mutate into a form that could spread easily among humans.

Bird flu has killed more than 150 people worldwide since 2003.

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