Indonesia says to launch bird flu pandemic plan

Indonesia, which has the highest death toll from bird flu of any country, will launch a plan later this week to deal with a possible influenza pandemic, officials said on Monday.

Indonesia says to launch bird flu pandemic plan
Heru Setijanto, head of surveillance and monitoring at the national commission for bird flu control, said the plan would be followed up a week later by a three-day pandemic simulation involving several villages on the resort island of Bali.

In the case of a pandemic, an estimated 5 million Indonesians could be infected with the virus, he said, adding that of those infected, between 5 and 10 percent would die.

"In such a situation, hundreds of thousands would die," Setijanto said, "and hospitals would be not able to accommodate all patients."

Indonesia has had 132 confirmed cases of bird flu, 107 of them fatal. He declined to give details about what measures would be taken in the event of a pandemic.

"The current situation is already very worrying," he said, speaking on the sidelines of a bird flu conference.

The official also said researchers were looking into the role of migratory birds in transmitting bird flu.

"There are indications that there have been cases of transmission from migratory birds but the strains are low pathogenic," he said.

Contact with sick fowl is the most common way of contracting the H5N1 virus, which is endemic in bird populations in most of Indonesia.

Experts say the danger is that the virus may evolve into a form that people can easily catch and pass to one another, in which case the transmission rate would soar, causing a pandemic in which millions of people could die worldwide.

The national bird flu commission said the virus had infected poultry in 31 out of 33 provinces in Indonesia. It said five provinces had not reported new cases in the past six months.
Last Mod: 14 Nisan 2008, 23:26
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