An Indonesian woman and a teenager died of bird flu, the Health Ministry said Thursday, raising the country's toll to 71.

"The results for the two patients came back positive this morning," said Health Ministry spokeswoman Lily Sulistyowati, citing local tests.

The first victim, a 15-year-old boy, died Saturday in West Sumatra's capital of Padang. The second, a 28-year-old woman, died early Wednesday in a Jakarta army hospital, she said.

Bird flu has killed at least 169 people since it began ravaging Asian poultry stocks in 2003, hitting Indonesia the hardest, according to the World Health Organization. It remains hard for people to catch, and most human cases have been linked to contact with sick birds.

But experts fear it could mutate into a form that spreads easily among people, potentially sparking a pandemic that could kill millions.