JAKARTA, Indonesia – A 20-year-old woman died of bird flu early Sunday, bringing the number of people killed by the virus in hardest-hit Indonesia to 64, health and hospital officials said.
The victim had a history of contact with sick chickens, said Nyoman Kandun of the health ministry.
"She died early Sunday," said Yogi Prayogi, a spokesman at Garut Hospital in West Java province, adding that two of the woman's neighbors also were hospitalized with symptoms of the disease.
The H5N1 virus has prompted the slaughter of millions of birds across Asia since late 2003, and has caused the deaths of 167 people worldwide, including Indonesia's latest victim, according to the World Health Organization.
Most people killed so far have been infected by domestic fowl and the virus remains very hard for humans to catch. But experts fear it could mutate into a form that easily spreads among humans, sparking a pandemic with the potential to kill millions.