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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 December 2005, 05:15 GMT
Ninth bird flu death in Indonesia
A health official collects blood samples for bird flu testing from chickens in Jakarta
There are fears the virus could mutate, causing a pandemic
An Indonesian man who died last month has been confirmed as the country's ninth bird flu victim.

Tests in Hong Kong showed that the 35-year-old - identified only as AR - died from the lethal H5N1 strain, a top Indonesian health official said.

The official, Hariadi Wibisono, said the man had had a history of contact with poultry but gave no more details.

The H5N1 virus has killed at least 70 people in South East Asia since the latest outbreak began in 2003.

"I have just received confirmation from Hong Kong," said Hariadi Wibisono.

The Hong Kong laboratory is affiliated with the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The latest victim lived in a residential areas in the capital, Jakarta, where he had contact with chickens that carried the virus, reports say.

Five other people have contracted the H5N1 bird flu virus but survived in Indonesia, according to WHO.

There are fears that the virus could mutate into a form that passes easily between people, sparking a pandemic.

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