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Indonesian boy dies from bird flu
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A 16 year-old Indonesian boy from Central Java province has died from avian influenza, put the total fatalities to 104 out of 128 contracted people in the hardest-hit country, the Indonesian Health Ministry said on Saturday. 

The boy died on Feb. 10 at a hospital in the province and the result of examination on his blood samples came out on Friday, showing that he was contracted by the H5N1 virus, said the ministry spokesperson Lily Sriwahyuni Sulistyowati. 

"He died on Sunday and both of laboratory tests of his blood samples showed positive on Friday," she told Xinhua. 

The boy had historical contact with fowl at his residence, as scores of chickens belonging to him and his neighbors were sick and some of them suddenly died before he first showed initial symptoms of the disease on Feb. 3, said Sulistyowati. 

"The boy slaughtered the rest of sick chickens," she said. 

Contact with fowl is a common cause of the bird flu fatality in Indonesia. 

After the first symptoms of the disease were shown on Feb. 3, such as fever, respiratory problem, cough, the boy went to a traditional midwife in a village, then six days later he was admitted to Moewardi hospital in Solo town, said Sulistyowati. 

Experts have blamed improper initial medical treatment as one of the main cause of the highest fatality rates in Indonesia. 

The boy died one day after admitted to the hospital in the province, said the spokesperson. 

Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous country and home to millions of backyard chickens, is considered a possible hot spot for spreading the disease, although the country has culled millions of chickens and pigs. Indonesia has been at the front row in fighting to combat the spreading of highly pathogenic H5N1 viruses, which have slowly and persistently spread on human. Indonesia has grappled with major problem on its effort to stop the spread of the virus spread, including huge territory, traditional way of rising chickens on back yard and lack of obedience of provincial administration.

(Xinhua News Agency February 16, 2008)

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