Indonesia: one death of bird flu every 2 1/2 days; poultry being killed in bird flu region

About 1,300 chickens were killed within one kilometer (half a mile) of the boy's house in the Tasikmalaya district of West Java province, said Budi Utama, head of the local animal and fisheries agency.

Indonesian tests on Wednesday found that the boy had contracted the virulent H5N1 bird flu virus, and officials were awaiting confirmation from a World Health Organization-sanctioned laboratory in Hong Kong.

A hospitalized 8-year-old girl from Pamulang, on the outskirts of Jakarta, also tested positive in local tests, Nyoman Kandun, a senior Health Ministry official, said Thursday.

At least 36 people have died in Indonesia from bird flu, out of a total world toll of 127, WHO says. The country averaged one human bird flu death every 2 1/2 days in May, putting it on pace to soon become the world's hardest-hit country, surpassing Vietnam's 42 deaths.

WHO officials, however, say human-to-human transmission may have occurred in family in a farm village in North Sumatra in which six members died of bird flu and a seventh was sickened. An eighth family member was buried before samples were collected, but WHO considers her part of the cluster of cases, the largest ever reported.

WHO experts have not found any link between the family and infected birds, which has led them to suspect human-to-human transmission. Only blood relatives - no spouses or in-laws - were sickened and no one outside the family has caught bird flu, the AP reports.

Indonesian health officials, however, have denied any human-to-human transmission and have downplayed the seriousness of the outbreak.

WHO scientists also suspect human-to-human transmission occurred in a few other smaller family clusters, all involving blood relatives. Experts theorize that could indicate that some people have a genetic susceptibility to the disease.