JAKARTA, Indonesia – An Indonesian toddler died from bird flu after coming into contact with dead poultry, a senior health ministry official said Wednesday, pushing the country's death toll to 89.
The four-year-old girl from Tangerang on the western outskirts of the capital, Jakarta died on Monday after hospitalized for two days, said Nyoman Kandun.
"Tests from two local laboratories came back positive," he said.
The girl first showed bird flu like symptoms on Oct. 13, said Kandun adding that health investigators concluded she had contact with dead poultry in her neighborhood.
Indonesia has been the country hardest-hit by the virus since it began ravaging poultry stocks across Asia in 2003.
Indonesia's human death toll from the illness now accounts for almost half of the recorded 203 fatalities worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.
The girl was the fourth Indonesian killed by the disease this month. A 21-year-old man, a 44-year-old woman and a 12-year-old boy died earlier.
Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous country and home to millions of backyard chickens, is considered a potential location for a major bird flu outbreak.
The disease remains hard for people to catch -- most cases have so far been traced to contact with infected birds -- but experts fear it could mutate into a form that spreads easily between humans, potentially sparking a global pandemic.