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Indonesian authorities report four bird flu deaths


MOSCOW, March 3 (RIA Novosti) - A senior Indonesian health official has said four people have died of bird flu in the country since the start of the year, the Xinhua news agency said on Tuesday.

"Four deaths from bird flu have been confirmed in January and February," the head of Indonesia's National Committee for Bird Flu Control and Pandemic Preparedness, Bayu Krisnamurthi, was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

National media said the death toll included two children who died of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu near the capital of Jakarta.

According to WHO data, Indonesia has the world's highest human bird flu infection rate with 141 confirmed cases and 115 deaths.

A total of 409 bird flu cases have been registered worldwide since the virus was first detected in 2003, resulting in 256 deaths, according to the WHO report.

Although there have been no incidences of human to human infection, experts fear that the bird flu virus may mutate into a form that could be easily transmitted from person to person, causing a global pandemic.

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