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Travelers Not at Serious Risk From Bird Flu

Bird Flu Update: Government Takes Steps to Curb Disease. WHO Says Flu Not a Realistic Threat to Travelers.

(1/27/2004) 

PATA Says Travelers Not at Risk

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) welcomed an assessment from the World Health Organization (WHO) that says bird flu at its current stage poses no realistic health threat to travelers visiting Asia. According to the WHO, there is no sign that the virus passes from human to human.

Saying they have no plans to issue a travel advisory, the WHO emphasized that H5N1 avian influenza ("bird flu") can only be caught by direct contact with contaminated poultry. Travelers are not at risk of catching bird flu by eating cooked chicken or eggs.

WHO spokesperson, Mr. Peter Cordingley, told PATA: "The World Health Organization does not at this moment see bird flu as a serious public health threat." He added: "This is not an urban problem. It has only been detected in farms and wet market environments."

Mr. Cordingley confirmed that there was "no sign" that bird flu was changing its genetic structure and becoming transmittable between humans. He said there were no known cases of health workers contracting the disease from patients.

Thousands of Chickens Culled in Bali

Local press report that Bali poultry farmers destroyed thousands of infected chickens on Bali on Monday, January 26. 2004.

Meanwhile, Bali Governor, Mr. Dewa Made Beratha, confirmed that the Government was importing 50,000 vaccines dosages against the disease from China to be given to those bird still unaffected by the illness.

Since August, an estimated 5 million chickens have died or been destroyed with the Government claiming that 60% of that total was due to Newcastle's disease, an ailment fatal to poultry but of no threat to human populations.

Health Monitoring Teams Formed

Indonesia's Ministry of Health has deployed special monitoring teams at poultry production centers across the Country. The team are examining bird populations and taking blood samples from poultry breeders to determine if any of those working with infected birds have contracted the illness.

To date there have been no confirmed cases of human catching bird flu in Indonesia.

 

More information: http://www.who.int/csr/don/2004_01_26/en/