Australian vets will help Indonesia’s AI teams

06-11-2006 | |

Australian vets will work with Indonesian authorities in a two-year project aimed at ensuring that Indonesia’s laboratory network can rapidly diagnose bird flu.

Veterinarians from the Australian Animal Health Laboratory will visit labs in Indonesia while Indonesian researchers will visit the Australian lab.
Australia’s AusAID international development agency contributed A$1.6 million (US$1.2 million) for the project, the government said in a statement.
More than a third of the 152 human H5N1 fatalities recorded globally the past three years have occurred in Indonesia, where the virus has been found in fowl in 30 out of 33 provinces.
“The number of human cases is increasing and there is a small but real possibility that the virus could mutate allowing human-to-human transmission, thereby potentially leading to the world’s next major influenza pandemic,” Peter Daniels, assistant director at the government laboratory, said in the statement.
The laboratory, at Geelong, near Melbourne, is run by the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation and is one of about seven facilities globally used by the World Organisation for Animal Health as a reference center for highly pathogenic avian influenza .
According to the latest World Health Organisation statistics , there have been 256 cases of human bird flu worldwide, with 152 of these being fatal.