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Govt to up Tamiflu stockpile to 12 million JAKARTA - Concerned about the increase in the number of bird flu fatalities among people, the government promised Saturday that it would distribute 12 million Tamiflu tablets to affected provinces. Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari said by the end of this month, the government would import 1.5 million tablets to increase its national stockpile, which currently stands at 16,000 tablets.

"I expect we will have up to 5 million tablets by April," she said in Yogyakarta as quoted by Antara news agency. Tamiflu is an anti-influenza drug that may be able to significantly reduce the severity of influenza, including the H5N1 bird flu strain, provided the patient begins taking it within 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms. It can also be taken as a preventative measure for those worried about contact with contagious people or animals.

Earlier, Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare Aburizal Bakrie had said since local pharmaceutical firms had yet to start producing the drug, the government would import Tamiflu from India and China. Siti said the supply would be distributed directly to health institutions in provinces with recorded outbreaks.

Indonesia's first confirmed bird flu fatality in humans occurred in 2003, but nine such cases have been confirmed so far in 2006, making it the country with most bird flu deaths this year. Since 2003, a total of 20 human deaths have been confirmed by the World Health Organization. Siti surmised that currently, the H5N1 strain was still in a phase where it could only be transmitted from poultry to humans.

"We have not yet seen a situation where human-to-human transmission has occurred," she stated. However, health experts fear that H5N1 could mutate into a form that is easily transmitted between humans, sparking a global pandemic that could kill millions. The only known human-to-human bird flu transmission occurred in Thailand last September.

Siti stressed that a continuous campaign to keep people here vigilant was more important than increasing the stockpile of Tamiflu. "People should stay away from unnecessary contact with poultry, while at the same time they need to relocate poultry farms away from residential areas," she said.


Link to related event Related event:
Bird flu in Indonesia

Related blog entries (category 'Bird Flu') Related blog entries (category 'Bird Flu'):
02 March 2006 · 2 siblings die of suspected bird flu
23 February 2006 · Deadly bird flu detected in 161 regencies in 26 provinces
21 February 2006 · Indonesia plans mass slaughter of chickens
18 February 2006 · Indonesia confirms 19th human bird flu death
13 February 2006 · Four more suspected cases of bird flu


Posted in Bird Flu @ 05 March 2006 09:49 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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