H5N1 bird flu kills child in Indonesia

Indonesia's health ministry announced on Tuesday that a four-year-old boy died from the bird flu earlier in December, increasing the death toll from the deadly virus to 160.

The boy died on December 6 in Tangerang city after developing symptoms of a cold and fever on November 30. The child received treatment at a public health center prior to hospitalization on the day of his death, Associated Press reports.

Tangerang city is located just west of Indonesia's capital, Jakarta.

Rita Kusriastuti, a health ministry official, said that the boy may have been infected with the H5N1 virus after coming into direct contact with dead fowl around his house.

Bird flu killed at least 360 people throughout the world since 2003. While it is relatively difficult for humans to catch the disease, experts are concerned that the virus could mutate into a more human-transmissible form. Most human cases are linked to contact with infected poultry.

Last week, Kusriastuti said that a new form of the H5N1 virus had killed hundreds of thousands of ducks on the main island of Java. The new virus may have entered Indonesia through imported ducks, though it could be the result of evolution from existing strains.

Bird flu cases tend to increase during the winter months in affected countries with increases in both human cases and poultry outbreaks, Associated Press reports.