Indonesia works to “stamp out” bird flu

25-08-2006 | |

West Java in Indonesia plans to “stamp out” avian influenza by requiring poultry-raising areas to be kept separate from residential neighborhoods.

The proposal is part of Indonesia’s effort to combat the bird flu epidemic that has caused Indonesia at least US$170 million in financial losses since it was first reported in 2003.

The provincial administration’s secretary Lex Laksmana said Thursday that the plan, called “stamping out”, would include a proposal to Governor Danny Setiawan to issue a circular requiring residents to keep poultry in coops separate from their houses.

“We see the need to start taking these stamping out measures because many of our residents raise their poultry under their houses or even inside their homes,” he said

Details of the plan would soon be introduced to residents across the province, although he did not say when it would take effect.

Currently, he said H5N1 vaccination in poultry proved successful in lowering deaths in big and commercial farms, where vaccination could be controlled and monitored.

But he said the virus’ spread to humans continued in community farms and from backyard chicken raising, where owners lack knowledge of hygiene and the transmission of the virus.

“We find it necessary to introduce the regulation in West Java although it does not have to go through a local ordinance because it would take a long time to be drafted,” he said.

The recent spread of bird flu in Cikelet and Cigadog villages in Garut regency is already deterring people from keeping poultry in their homes.