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Ciptapangan Visitor
Tests Confirm Bird Flu in Bali
posted by admin on 02/08/06

Around 300 birds died of the virus over the past week

August 1, 2006

BALI, Indonesia -- Hundreds of dead chickens found on the Indonesian island resort of Bali have tested positive for the H5N1 strain of bird flu, an animal health official said Tuesday.

Around 300 birds died of the virus over the past week, said I Gusti Ngurah Sandjaja. "We have carried out a rapid test and found that they were positively infected by the bird flu virus," Mr. Sandjaja said. "Fortunately, there are no indications that the virus has spread to humans here."

Indonesia, a vast archipelago comprising nearly 18,000 islands, has reported 42 human deaths since July 2005 and is tied with Vietnam as the world's hardest-hit country. The World Health Organization has said that limited human-to-human transmission may have occurred in a family on Sumatra island, the location of the world's largest cluster of human infections.

Indonesia's government is "closely watching" outbreaks of the virus in poultry populations in Bali, Sulawesi and Riau, a senior official with the Coordinating Ministry for the Economy said.

The government is concerned because H5N1 is "endemic" to those areas and poses a possible risk of human contagion, Bayu Krisnamurti said, but he didn't elaborate on possible measures to address the outbreaks. "In these areas, bird flu is already endemic in birds ... the government has to pay close attention in order to prevent bird flu transmission to humans because these three areas are tourist destinations," Mr. Krisnamurti said.

Health authorities were forced to cull large numbers of ducks and chickens in Bali earlier this year after birds became ill.

Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press

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