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Renewed Bird Flu Alert for Bali

Well-Coordinated Response from Local Officials as New Outbreak of Avian Flu Discovered in Several Bali Villages.

(2/14/2009) Following the sudden unexplained death of tens of chickens in Abiansemal in the Badung regency of Bali on Monday, February 10, 2009, local authorities have moved quickly to isolate a possible local outbreak of Bird Flu and exterminated more than 40 birds owned by local villagers.

According to Radar Bali, officials, clad in protective clothing and masks, descended on the area and began shooting free ranging chickens with air rifles while some residents assisted by rounding up their birds and presenting them for elimination. The carcasses of the dead birds were immediately burned and buried in the local cemetery while other sanitation officers sprayed disinfectant on the soil in and around the village.

The Chief of the Livestock, Fisheries and Oceans Division (Disnakkanlut) for the Badung regency, I Made Badra, confirmed that his staff were compelled to destroy poultry suspected of possible contagion with Bird Flu in order to prevent additional new infections. Badra said, "elimination, like this, is much more effective than vaccination."

Health officials have identified the villages of Jagapati, Angantaka and Sedang as "red zones" which will be kept under quarantine and close observation for the coming 30 days. Badra said that should any additional sudden deaths occur among poultry populations in this area, all birds in the three villages will then be immediately culled. Additional safety precautions include the closing and disinfection of local slaughter houses.

As part of the protocols stipulated in the disease control and surveillance program to prevent bird flu contagion the nearby village of Munggu has also been put on round the clock monitoring while bio-security measures have been introduced in surrounding areas.

One Man Hospitalized

Meanwhile, a 20-year-old man, Putra Orana Yoga, who had close contact with the infected birds is hospitalized in the isolation ward of a local hospital after complaining of nausea, fever and breathing difficulties. The young man has been started on a course of Tamiflu while doctors await the results of lab tests to confirm a bird flu infection.

The last confirmed death attributed to bird flu in Bali occurred in August 2007 when a 29-year-old woman succumbed to the disease.

In order to prevent any possible spread of the H5N1 virus Denpasar officials have order the disinfecting of the Badung market and the Satria Bird Market.

Bali Bird Park Introduces Strict Bio-Safety Measures

Bali popular Bird Park in Singapadu (Gianyar) have immediately stepped up bio-security measures applied to visitors to the park and the large captive bird collection housed at their facility.

The shoes of visitors the Bali Bird Park are disinfected upon entering and leaving the park while the visitors are sprayed with an aerosol disinfectant.

Curators at the Park have also increased the scheduled cleaning and disinfection schedule of all cages. A program of rapid testing for bird flu symptoms have also been introduced for both staff and birds with all tests-to-date coming up negative for traces of the disease.

Meanwhile, the Bali Bird Park continues to operate in a normal fashion welcoming an average of more than 200 visitors every day.