Zero human AI cases is the target for this year
Indonesia is aiming for zero human bird flu cases this
year, as officials report that public education campaigns and widespread poultry
vaccination are proving effective.
Indonesia has had the highest number of fatalities from the H5N1 strain of
, with 57 deaths from 74 confirmed cases. The most recent fatality was
that of a 35-year-old woman on November 28.
Bayu Krisnamurthi, head of the national committee for control of avian
influenza, says that mass poultry vaccination is working to slow down infection
Krisnamurthi added that organisations such as the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization
are now more
convinced that Indonesia's chosen method of fighting bird flu, vaccinating
poultry, has started to show good results
The vast majority of human cases have occurred after contact with infected
Indonesia has received widespread criticism for not providing incentives
for farmers to cull birds in affected areas.
But Krisnamurthi says: "Particularly after the latest cases in China and
Vietnam, it is proven that mass culling does not guarantee that the environment
is free from the virus."
Indonesia has not reported any new cases of human infection since November
28. Since October, 14 provinces have not reported any new outbreaks among
Krisnamurthi also announced a substantial increase in spending on
prevention of bird flu and pandemic preparedness, but acknowledged that some
areas, in particular the vaccination program, remained under-funded.
"We have about 10 percent of [the vaccines] we need to effectively
vaccinate chickens raised in backyard farms."
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