TUESDAY, JUNE 19, 2018

Indoensia reports sixth H5N1 influenza death

The Indonesian health ministry recently announced the country's sixth H5N1 avian influenza death this year.

The victim is a 17-year old construction worker who died from the virulent disease after an outbreak occurred in his neighborhood on Lombok Island, according to the Boston Herald.

Rita Kusriastuti, the Indonesia health ministry's head of animal-borne infectious disease control, said that the man developed a fever on February 28, was admitted to the hospital five days later and died on March 9.

"A laboratory result confirmed that he tested positive for the bird flu virus," Kusriastuti HindustanTimes.com reports. "Some ducks and chickens in his neighborhood died of the virus, which has also been confirmed by a lab result."

Concerns over H5N1 have risen in Asia since December, when China reported its first death from the illness in 18 months. Since then, China has had one other confirmed fatality as a result of the virus. Reports of H5N1-related chicken deaths in Hong Kong have led a mass culling of poultry stocks on the island.

The World Health Organization recently reported that Indonesia has been hardest hit by avian influenza. There have been 155 known deaths as a result of the virus since 2003, excluding the latest.

The virus usually spreads from birds to humans through direct contact, but experts are concerned that it could mutate into a form that can easily be transmitted between humans. The virus' high fatality rate means a pandemic caused by the illness could be devastating, according to HindustanTimes.com.