Bird Flu Alarm

2006-02-10-Bird flu team to go door-to-door

Understanding Avian Influenza

2006-02-10-Bird flu team to go door-to-door

As more human cases of avian flu appear in the capital, the Jakarta administration is preparing for the gargantuan task of checking every house to find birds infected with the virus.

There are over 2,152,000 households in the city, though apartments will probably be exempt from the checks.

The Jakarta Animal Husbandry, Fishery and Maritime Affairs Agency is training 200 volunteers to carry out the checks.

To date, the agency has only checked areas where human cases of bird flu have surfaced.

Agency head Adnan Ahmad said Wednesday tests results from affected areas would be analyzed before the door-to-door checks commenced next week.

"Previously, testing was limited to certain areas. However, based on those checks, we came to a decision: to start (city-wide checks), focusing on areas that have the highest number of cases," he told The Jakarta Post.

The agency has so far found thousands of infected birds and chickens in at least seven subdistricts in East Jakarta, three subdistricts in North Jakarta, three subdistricts in West Jakarta, two subdistricts in South Jakarta and two subdistricts in Central Jakarta.

It has reported rapid culling of all diseased or exposed birds.

Adnan said that, through the city-wide checks, the agency could determine the course of bird flu in its seven-month spread across the city, and stop it from spreading to other areas.

Previously, Agriculture Minister Anton Apriantono said nationwide door-to-door checks were essential to stop bird flu from spreading.

He said Sumedang and Purwakarta, both in West Java, Lampung, and Jakarta would be prioritized as they had the highest numbers of cases.

"Indonesia has become an endemic area for bird flu. Many people and thousands of animals have died. That's why data on the spread of the virus is very important. We will use the data and focus on those areas with the most infections," Anton said recently.

According to the Health Ministry, Indonesia has recorded 23 human cases of bird flu, resulting in 16 deaths.

Understanding Avian Influenza