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Indonesia to Vaccinate Chickens Against Bird Flu
posted by admin on 07/09/06

About 60 million chickens to be vaccinated against bird flu ahead of the coming rainy season

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Indonesia is planning to vaccinate about 60 million chickens against bird flu ahead of the coming rainy season, when experts fear the virus might spread more easily, the Agriculture Ministry said Wednesday.

The vaccinations will take place in areas of the sprawling country where the virus is most entrenched, said animal health director Musni Suatmodjo.

The H5N1 virus is endemic in Indonesia's estimated 500 million individually owned, or "backyard," chickens. It has also killed at least 46 humans, more than anywhere else in the world. Mr. Suatmodjo said the vaccines, mostly imported from China, would be ready next week.

Indonesia's rainy season typically begins in October. Experts say wet and humid weather makes it easier for the virus to spread, like a regular flu.

International health officials fear the virus could eventually begin spreading easily from person to person, possibly sparking a pandemic and killing millions worldwide. So far, most human infections have been traced back to contact with birds.

Copyright © 2005 Associated Press

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