Indonesia bird flu toll 74
Jakarta, April 7 (DPA) A 29-year-old man has died of bird flu in Indonesia, bringing the country's total number of human deaths from the H5N1 strain of the virus to 74 - the world's highest, a health official said Saturday.
The man, identified as Suramto, died Thursday after undergoing nearly a week of treatment in a hospital in Solo town in central Java, said I. Nyoman Kandun, director general for infectious diseases at the Indonesian health ministry.
Suramto's death brings the toll from the H5N1 virus to 74 deaths, the highest in the world for 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 17 lives in the country. On Friday, the killer virus killed a teenager from central Jakarta.
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.
The ban, which took effect in mid-January for Jakarta, West Java and Banten provinces, was later extended across Java and beyond.
The government also placed tight restrictions on the movement and sale of poultry and poultry products across the nine provinces and is preparing more hospitals to treat human cases of the virus.