Fifth H5N1 death of the year reported in Indonesia

A 24-year-old woman on Indonesia's Sumatra island died of the bird flu this week, making her the fifth human death from the deadly influenza strain this year.

Avian influenza concerns have risen in Asia after China reported an H5N1 virus fatality in December. It was the first fatality in China in 18 months. Since that time, one more person has died from the virus in China, the Telegraph reports.

"She tested positive for the H5N1 virus by the health ministry's laboratory," Rita Kusriastuti, the Indonesian health ministry's head of animal-borne infectious diseases, said, according to AFP. "It's the fifth death here this year."

Indonesia has been the hardest hit nation with bird flu. According to the World Health Organization, the country experienced 150 bird flu deaths between 2003 and 2011. The bird flu virus claimed the lives of nine Indonesians last year.

"The woman was living in an area where there are many ducks and chickens," Kusriastuti said, according to AFP. "She also had some (poultry) in her house."

The woman died on March 1 in a Bengkulu city hospital.

The bird flu virus typically spreads via direct contact from birds to humans. Experts are concerned that the virus could mutate into a form that transmits easily between humans with the potential to kills millions in a pandemic.