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Indonesian death; China outbreaks

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An medical worker (right) vaccinates a duck in Tancheng county in east China.

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JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNN) -- Indonesia says a 35-year-old man is the latest to die from the avian flu as China reports new outbreaks among birds in four provinces.

The World Health Organization was waiting on lab tests being carried out in Hong Kong on Monday to see if the death was caused by the H5N1 strain, an Indonesian health ministry official told CNN.

That strain is rife among birds, but so far has only killed humans who have had direct contact with them.

If the results are confirmed, the man would be the 68th person to die from the H5N1 flu strain, which global medical experts fear could become a human pandemic if it mutates and becomes transmissible among people.

At least 130 people in five countries -- China, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia -- have been diagnosed with the H5N1 strain of the avian flu, with about half of those dying from the disease, according to the WHO.

Meanwhile, China is reporting two new outbreaks of the flu among birds, its 16th and 17th, even as provinces step up measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

China's Agriculture Ministry reported Monday that its laboratories had confirmed cases in four provinces in north, west, and central parts of the nation.

One outbreak in the northern province of Inner Mongolia killed 176 ducks, geese and chickens before the cause of death was confirmed by a state laboratory as the H5N1 strain.

The same strain killed 3,500 geese in Hubei Province, in central China, the state news agency Xinhua reported. Veterinarians have killed remaining poultry near the affected area, Xinhua added.

In the past month China has been working to contain more than a dozen outbreaks of flu among poultry and has said two people have died from the virus, with another suspected to have died from it.

Experts say migrating birds are likely the reason why the virus is spreading.

Despite that, Xinhua quoted China's health minister as saying the country has basically brought the virus under control.

Earlier this month, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged nations to make immediate preparations for a possible pandemic of bird flu.

While it is not yet clear if the H5N1 strain will ever gain the ability to infect large numbers of people, Annan said world leaders cannot ignore the threat it poses.

Journalist John Aglinoby contributed to this report.

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