JAKARTA, INDONESIA — Four Indonesians have recently died of avian influenza, bringing the death toll in the country hardest hit by the disease over the past several years to 119, according to The Associated Press. All the victims were believed to have been infected after coming into contact with sick birds, said Bayu Krisnamurthi, chief of the National Bird Flu Commission. They were from Java island and died in January and February.

Most human cases to date have been linked to contact with infected chickens. But health experts say the H5N1 virus could mutate into a form that passes easily among humans, sparking a pandemic that could kill millions worldwide. Indonesia is considered a potential hotspot for that to occur.

To post your comments on this story, click here:

[email protected].