Only ten percent of chickens vaccinated against AI

17-11-2006 | |

The Indonesian government has vaccinated about 140 million chickens against bird flu – only ten percent of the 1.4 billion chickens across the country, according to an official.

National Commission expert panel member Amin Soebandrio expressed his concern that the low quality vaccine being used could actually create a new and more dangerous strain of the virus.
“In the past, chickens would die if they had bird flu, but now they are still alive even if they have the virus,” he said.
He said that infected chickens roaming from place to place are very dangerous, and expressed regret about the ad hoc approach to tackling the virus in Indonesia.
“It is regrettable that bird flu vaccination was not followed up,” he said.
He said public awareness of bio-security against bird flu was still low, and also cited a lack of funds for the government’s ineffective measures to depopulate infected poultry.
“Many trucks carrying poultry were passing populated areas and clogged roads while we don’t know whether the poultry are infected with bird flu or not,” he said.
According to the World Health Organisation bird flu has infected 258 people worldwide since late 2003, killing 153. 56 of these deaths have been in Indonesia.
The Indonesian government has rejected mass culling of birds, citing the cost and impracticality in a sprawling, populous country where many people are still unperturbed by the bird flu threat.
The number of provinces where bird flu is endemic has nearly halved in the last six months, although all areas in densely populated Java island are still affected, officials say.