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Expert terms Indonesia a bird flu ‘time bomb’ PARIS (FRANCE) - Indonesia has become a bird flu “time-bomb” because of its failure to eradicate high numbers of deadly H5N1 sites, the head of the Paris-based World Organisation for Animal Health said yesterday. “Indonesia is a time-bomb for the region,” organisation head Bernard Vallat said calling the situation in the southeast Asian arhcipelago a cause for “great concern”.

“It is important for the Indonesian government, in its interest and in the interest of the international community, to take the necessary political decision” to step up its controls, with international help, he said. Vallat said Indonesia was one of the only countries in Asia to have such a large number of unchecked infection sites. “There is a clear correlation between the number of infected birds and the number of cases detected in humans,” he said, calling for urgent international intervention to help stem the spread of the virus.

“Without massive international support, we cannot hope in the short or medium term to control and eradicate the virus in this country,” he warned. Indonesia has witnessed more bird flu deaths than any other country this year and has the second highest number of fatalities reported in the world since 2003, after Vietnam. Thirty-three people have been contaminated in the country by the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu, 24 of whom died, according to the World Health Organisation.

Many Indonesians live in close proximity to poultry even in towns and cities, though infected birds have been found in at least 26 of Indonesia’s 33 provinces. “We are continuing to observe cases in humans in Indonesia, whereas in Thailand or Vietnam, there have been no more human cases since infection sites disappeared among birds,” Vallat said.

Both countries, where the H5N1 strain of bird flu appeared at the same time as in Indonesia, in late 2003, have been free of new cases in animals for the past three months, Vallat said. “Neighbouring countries have shown that one can eradicate the virus through political and technical means, in co-ordination with international organisations and creditors such as the World Bank,” he said. “That is extremely encouraging,” he added.

To counter the spread of the virus, Thailand set up a giant network of informers - 900,000 people, reaching to the smallest village - charged with reporting each and every outbreak of the disease. Vietnam, faced with a spiralling number of infection sites, undertook a passive poultry vaccination programme, which although very costly managed to stem the spread of the disease.


Link to related event Related event:
Bird flu in Indonesia

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Posted in Bird Flu @ 16 April 2006 10:02 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink





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