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Bird flu-hit Indonesia to ban city backyard poultry JAKARTA - Indonesia, which has the world's highest number of bird flu deaths, intends to bar city residents from keeping chickens and other poultry in their backyards, ministers said on Friday. Indonesia has become a frontline in the battle against the virus that has killed 55 people in the country, where millions of chickens roam freely in urban residential areas.

Despite the rising human death toll, the government has resisted mass culling of birds, citing the expense and impracticality in the developing country of 220 million people, where the bird flu threat is not seen as a high priority by many. "There are laws banning poultry in cities in Thailand and Hong Kong. We will also carry that out soon," Indonesian Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari told reporters without giving a timeline.

"Principally, I think human beings and poultry need to be separated," she added. The move is likely to face opposition from small poultry farmers who keep chickens in their backyards to earn money. Agriculture Minister Anton Apriyantono said a set of legal guidelines was being worked out. "We need law enforcement. We have issued ministerial edicts regulating that poultry in urban areas need to be in cages," he told reporters.

Bird flu has now killed 151 people in nine countries since 2003, according to figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO). Scientists fear the virus could mutate into a form that can be passed easily between people, leading to a possible human pandemic which could kill millions. However, Indonesia's chief welfare minister Abrizal Bakrie said there were no indications this would happen soon.

"There is no indication leading to a pandemic. There has been no mutation and the spread is still from poultry to humans," he said after ministers met to discuss bird flu developments. U.N. bird flu coordinator David Nabarro said in Bangkok on Friday that people must not assume a pandemic would start in a particular country.

"In fact, the influenza pandemic could start anywhere because (of) the capability of moving across borders, carried perhaps by migrating birds or through trade," Nabarro told a press conference. "However, there are certain countries in this region where the level of H5N1 avian influenza is high," Nabarro said.

Hiroyuki Konuma, deputy regional representative for the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said he was particularly concerned about Indonesia. "The virus is widely spread at the moment," he told the same news conference. H5N1 has spread to most of Indonesia, one of the world's most complex countries spread across 17,000 islands and with myriad ethnic groups and languages.


Link to related event Related event:
Bird flu in Indonesia

Related blog entries (category 'Bird Flu') Related blog entries (category 'Bird Flu'):
17 October 2006 · Indonesia confirms 55th bird flu death
16 October 2006 · 54th bird flu death recorded in West Java
16 October 2006 · Eleven-year-old boy dies of bird flu in Jakarta
13 October 2006 · Bird flu death toll rises to 52
10 October 2006 · Bird flu found in pigs in Bali


Posted in Bird Flu @ 20 October 2006 04:42 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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