According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), as of March 1, 2006, some 174 cases of human infection with the H5N1 virus have been confirmed worldwide resulting in 94 deaths. Of those cases, Indonesia has reported 27 confirmed cases of humans infected with Avian Influenza, 20 of whom have died.
Facts and Figures Related to Indonesia and the H5N1 Virus
Among growing concern worldwide regarding the spread of the H5N1 virus, we are listing some of the key facts and figures related to that disease and the island of Bali:
Bali remains officially free of H5N1 or Bird Flu. All Cases to date in Indonesia have been limited to the island of Java, with the majority of infections occurring in West Java. Suspected cases of H5N1 infection in a Bali bird population in January 2006 were subsequently shown to be Newcastle Disease.
Concern and vigilance mounts as it becomes likely that the disease will eventually touch Bali's shore, with some of the most recent cases discovered in East Java, just across the straits from Bali.
In August of 2005 Bali's Governor appointed a select council to monitor, control and recommend action steps to prevent the spread of Bird Flu to Bali.
The importation of live poultry stocks and swine to Bali is specifically prohibited under instructions issued by the Province's Agricultural Directorate and further strengthened by a Gubernatorial decree.
Over the past three months, thousands of lives birds have been refused entry to Bali at the Port of Gilamanuk, the western sea entrance to Bali.
An effort to smuggle 450 live ducks and 150 chickens into Bali by a Denpasar poultry dealer, Subali, on March 1, 2006, resulted in the immediate destruction of all the birds. At last report, both Subali and his truck have been detained by Bali Police with the dealer having already suffered losses estimated at Rp. 10 million (approximately US$1,050) for the destroyed birds. Subali is still facing possible fines of up to Rp. 150 million (approximately US$15,800) for violating the Governor's decree banning importation of live birds.
All affected provinces in Indonesia are undergoing massive vaccination campaigns against Bird Flu, as directed by Indonesia's Minister of Agriculture.
The Indonesia government is in the process of obtaining an emergency supply 1.5 dosages of Tamiflu to add to its current stocks and be made available without cost should the disease be identified as spreading from human to human. The government is targeting to have 5 million dosages of Tamiflu on hand by April eventually growing to 12 million dosages shortly thereafter.
The Government of Indonesia has embarked on a widespread publicity and education campaign using the electronic media and advising people of the need to practice good hygiene, keep chicken stocks away from residential settings, avoid unnecessary contact with poultry and not to use poultry droppings for fertilizer.
Indonesian health officials have begun door-to-door sweeps, testing ducks and chicken for the H5N1 virus. When any bird is found to be infected, all poultry and domesticated birds are immediately destroyed within a 1 kilometer radius from the location of the infected animal with compensation paid to the animals' owners.
Bali's main Bird Park attraction has introduced a program of rigorous checks and screening protocols to ensure that its bird population remains virus-free. The Park is also acting as an educational center for villagers and local officials on how to prevent the spread of the Avian Flu.
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