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(9/3/2007) Tempo Interaktif reports that despite two confirmed deaths due to bird flu, Bali tourism remains unaffected and visitors to the Island are, in fact, increasing. According to Bali's Governor, Dewa Made Beratha, "there have been no cancellations."
Beratha reaffirmed that the total tourists visiting Bali during the period January-August 2007 are the strongest in the past ten years.
Beratha insists that his Government is adopting an open stance in relating information regarding the incidents of bird flu in Bali as well as the steps being taken to control the disease.
As reported on balidiscovery.com, foreign tourist arrivals are up +34.9% as compared to 2006[See: Bali's July Arrivals Up 34.9%]. According to Tempo Interaktif, arrivals during the first 21 days of August, following reports of the bird flu outbreak, were up between +24-30%.
Other developments in the battle against Bird Flu in Bali as reported in a formal press statement issued by Bali's provincial government, include:
• As of August 25, 2007, 31 provinces in Indonesia have reported cases of Avian Influenza infecting 105 people, with 8 deaths across 12 provinces formally linked to the illness.
• In Bali, 42 of 56 sub-districts in Bali have reported H5N1 infections in their poultry populations. 2 confirmed deaths in Bali have also been attributed to the disease, both among individuals living in Bali's western regions.
• The Government of Bali created a coordinated team for the control and eradication of Avian Flu on August 8, 2007.
• A separate public health team has also been established to deal with the recent outbreak of the disease.
• The areas in which the H5N1 disease has been confirmed in the human or poultry populations have been declared closed to the import and export of poultry and poultry products.
• A cooperative network between the Island's animal husbandry department and health services have been established at the provincial, regency and sub-district level.
• A 72-member team focused on the principles of "participatory disease surveillance" and "participatory disease response" on the community level is now in place across Bali.
• District Surveillance Officers have been put in place as part of the rapid response team at the regency level.
• Specially equipped isolation units to handle human infections have ben established at Denpasar's Sanglah General Hospital, Sanjiwani Hospital in Gianyar and the Public Hospital at Tabanan.
• The microbiology lab at Bali's Udayana University has been established as a regional laboratory for the detection of Avian Flu, while the microbiology lab at Denpasar's Sanglah General Hospital and Bali's Health Laboratory have been designated as sub-regional laboratories for the detection of Avian Flu.
• The distribution of poultry vaccines, disinfectants, rapid-test kits, masks and surgical gloves has taken place at the regency and metropolitan level.
• Information to educate the public as to the causes and prevention of Avian Flu continues in all Bali print and electronic media with supplemental direct education program to the local populace in areas reporting confirmed cases.
• Direct surveillance teams have been put in place across the Island at food markets, bird markets and poultry breeding centers.
• Ongoing blood testing of human populations in areas reporting bird flu cases are taking place to confirm that no human-to-human infections have occurred.
• The immediate extermination and disposal of all poultry stocks is now taking place whenever attempts to smuggle birds into Bali are uncovered.
• An extermination protocol for all local poultry populations found within a prescribed radius wherever poultry infections of H5N1 are confirmed is now in place.
• The vaccination of local poultry populations is ongoing.
• Bio-security measures have been introduced wherever poultry populations are concentrated.
Important Contacts in the Fight on Bird Flu
The following contacts form part of the front-line battle in Bali's battle against bird flu:
• Coordination Team for Participatory Disease Surveillance and Participatory Disease Response - Ibu Sukanadi – Telephone ++62-(0)8123685023 or +++62-(0)361-8522395
• Animal Husbandry Services – (Dinas Perternakan) - Dr. Ketut Suwarda, Chief of the Sub-division for Animal Health – Telephone ++62-(0)817356252
• Public Safety Center - Dr. I Ketut Subrata – Telephone ++62-(0)361-222412 (extension #118) Facsimile ++62-(0)361-224102
• Sanglah General Hospital in Denpasar - Dr. I.G.B. Ken Wirasandhi – Telephone ++62-(0)8123958111 or ++62-(0)361-7844453.