A young girl suspected of having bird flu has died on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, a hospital official said Sunday October 21. “She was admitted on Saturday but died less than 12 hours later, at around 11:00 pm (1600 GMT),” Azisman Daad, a doctor at the Arifin Achmad hospital in Riau province, told AFP.
Daad said that samples from the 10-year-old’s body were to be sent to the capital Jakarta for testing to confirm the cause of death. Local tests indicated that she had bird flu.
The official human death toll from bird flu in Indonesia is 88, the highest in the world.
Most human cases have come from contact with infected poultry, but Daad said it was not immediately clear if that was the case for the girl.
The deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu is endemic in birds across nearly all of Indonesia.
Scientists worry that the virus could mutate into a form more easily transmissible between humans, triggering a global pandemic.
Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous nation, has reported 109 bird flu infections, including the fatalities, since it recorded its first case in July 2005.