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Ciptapangan Visitor
Bird flu fears focus on Indonesia
posted by admin on 09/08/06

The news that Indonesia is now the country worst affected by bird flu will come as little surprise to many analysts.

While other parts of Asia - such as Hong Kong, mainland China and Vietnam - have been able to tackle the disease, the death toll in Indonesia continues to rise.

Infected poultry flocks have now been found in 27 of the country's 33 provinces, and even the 44 recorded human fatalities have been spread right across the country.

"We're doing our best to try to stop this disease, but it seems that our best just isn't good enough," said Bayu Krishnamurti, secretary of a national committee set up by the government to fight bird flu.

The reason this failure matters was highlighted earlier this year when seven members of the same family all died of the disease - one of the few suspected human-to-human cases to have been recorded so far.

On this occasion, the lethal H5N1 virus appears not to have mutated into a form more easily transmissible between people - a step which could lead to a global human pandemic.

But the incident raised fears that such a mutation could one day take place, and brought the spotlight on Indonesia as the place where it could happen.

Lack of co-ordination

Despite a plethora of negative headlines, the Indonesian authorities are slowly gaining some ground in their battle against bird flu.

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