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Bird flu still major threat despite fewer deaths, Indonesian government says

Bird flu still major threat despite fewer deaths, Indonesian government says

Bird flu remains a serious threat in Indonesia despite a drop in new infections and deaths in recent months, the government warned Friday.
Indonesia has recorded 74 human infections of the H5N1 strain of the virus, of whom 57 have died _ the highest number in the world _ since the disease began ravaging Asian poultry stocks in 2003.
Bayu Krisnamurthi, who heads the country's top bird flu response commission, told reporters in Jakarta that the government's aggressive response to the virus had nearly halved the number of deaths between Aug. 1 and end-December from the previous five months to an average 2.6 deaths per month.
"In 2007, the war will continue," Krisnamurthi said. "By the end of next year, we want to see an end to new human H5N1 cases."
But authorities should "remain alert" because the disease is not yet under control, he said.
International experts have accused Indonesia of not doing enough to tackle the virus, which they fear may mutate into a form that could spread easily between humans and potentially kill millions globally.
But Krisnamurthi said the fall in the number of deaths was partly due to a national campaign to increase public awareness and vaccinate poultry.
Of 46 fatalities in Indonesia this year, five have been reported since October and none at all this month, according to the World Health Organization.
Next year, the government will continue to raise public awareness about health risks and while restructuring the poultry industry to minimize contact between birds and people, he said.
A total of 157 people have died globally since the 2003 outbreak, according to the WHO.
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On the Net:
http://www.who.int/en/


Updated : 2021-04-18 05:54 GMT+08:00