01/22/2007, 00.00
Send to a friend

Bird flu still spreading

by Weena Kowitwanij
Indonesian health minister states that people who come down with the bird flu have few chances of survival. Two women die, one in Indonesia and one in Egypt. One strand of the virus found in Egypt appears resistant to Tamiflu. Despite government action, the infection is spreading in South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand

Bangkok (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The bird flu strikes again killing more people in Indonesia and Egypt. More outbreaks are reported in Thailand, Cambodia, South Korea and Vietnam.

Indonesia. A 19-year-old woman from West Java died on Friday, Muhammad Nadirin, a health department official, announced. She had come into contact with a diseased chicken.

In Indonesia 2007 began with several new bird flu cases and more deaths. The total death toll now stands at 62.

The authorities have decided to take unprecedented steps to stem the tide. Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso ordered residents of the capital to cull all their birds before February 1. Those still found alive after that day will be confiscated. Those who comply will receive a dollar per bird as compensation.

There are an estimated 350 million backyard chickens in the country, and that includes the major cities. Without drastic steps preventive measures cannot work.

To reinforce this point, Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari announced that “people infected by bird flu only have a small chance of survival,” adding that “with no medicine to fight the virus and the pattern of the disease still unclear, we have to cut the chain of transmission, which means killing fowl.”

The minister also stated that the government was evaluating the possibility of extending the ban on backyard poultry to eight other provinces affected by bird flu outbreaks.

However, many Indonesians refuse to give up their small pens, which can be an important source of income, especially for fighting cocks.

“My chickens are healthy and strong,” said Jumadi Akhir, who keeps two fighting cocks and several other chickens. “I treat them as good as I do my own children. I wash them morning night and day.”

Thailand. The 21 patients under observation in Phitsanulok province do not have the bird flu. Still, fighting cocks within a five kilometre radius around the infection point are being tested. In Ayudhaya province all the chickens in one farm were culled after hundreds suddenly died. In the north-eastern province of Umnaj-charoen, workers at one poultry farm affected by the virus are under observation.

South Korea. Some 273,000 chickens were culled after a new outbreak on a Chonan poultry farm, South Chungcheong province, about 90 km (55 miles) south of the capital, Seoul. Despite mass culling and strict quarantine order, the latest is the 5th bird flu outbreak since November.

Vietnam. The bird flu virus was found in ducks in the Mekong Delta’s main city, Can Tho. A few days earlier it had been found in the nearby province of Soc Trang. Some 19,000 birds were culled as a result.

Agriculture Minister Cao Duc Phat ordered farmers to stop ducks from roaming in the delta.

Eight Mekong Delta provinces have now been affected by the virus, and there are fears that it might spread via wild birds.

Cambodia. After laboratory test showed H5N1 virus in some dead chickens, all the poultry in Siam-raj area were culled.

Egypt. Warda Ei Ahmed, 27, from Beni Suef province south of Cairo, died on Friday after she was moved to a Cairo hospital on January 13 because of her worsening conditions. A health ministry spokesman had said earlier in the week that she raised hens in her house. The ministry sent a team to take samples from the rest of her family for testing

In Egypt the virus has so far killed 11 people. Three people from one family, including a 15-year-old girl, died of the virus in December, raising fears about possible human-to-human transmission.

To make matter worse, the World Health Organisation announced last Thursday that tests on the three showed that the virus that killed them was “moderately” resistant to Tamiflu, the vaccine used in such cases. Never the less, the UN agency pointed out that this was only an isolated case.

Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
Avian flu: Between good and bad news
Five-year old boy is Thailand's 14th bird flu victim
New human bird flu cases suspected in Vietnam and China
In China no information about the dangers of the avian flu
Avian flue pandemic could kill up to 300 million people


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”