News / Asia

Bird Flu Kills 4-Year-Old Boy in Indonesia

An Indonesian child holds a colored chick to be sold at a chicken farm in Jakarta, Indonesia, December 18, 2012.
An Indonesian child holds a colored chick to be sold at a chicken farm in Jakarta, Indonesia, December 18, 2012.
VOA News
Indonesian officials say a four-year-old boy has died from bird flu, the 10th fatal case in the country this year.

The health ministry said Tuesday the boy likely contracted the H5N1 virus after playing with dead birds outside his home west of the capital, Jakarta.

Almost half the estimated 360 people worldwide who have died from avian influenza since 2003 have been in Indonesia.

Last week, fears were raised after the government said a new, highly pathogenic strain of the disease recently killed more than 300,000 ducks on the densely populated island of Java.

The virus usually only infects humans who come into direct contact with diseased birds. Some scientists fear H5N1 could mutate into a form readily transmissible between humans, with the potential to cause millions of deaths.

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