Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Bird flu entrenched in Indonesia

Indonesia hoped to be bird flu free, but the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) doubts this is realistic and has declared the huge country an endemic area for avian influenza and at high risk for future outbreaks. Undeterred, Minister of Agriculture Anton Apriyantono said Indonesia won't lessen its efforts:
"This will instead encourage us to fight bird flu even harder, be it by enhancing bio-security or isolation," he said, adding that the ministry had not revised its target of being bird-flu free by 2007. (The Jakarta Post)
This latest blow comes on the heels of the discovery of H5N1 in pigs on Java island. The pigs were asymptomatic but harbored H5N1 virus, raising additional concern that they will act as a "mixing vessel" for human/bird virus reassortment.

New requirements to separate pig farms from poultry farms by a specified distance are probably too late. This genie is out of the bottle, and not just in Indonesia.