Indonesia Bird Flu Increasing – in Jakarta

It’s frustrating being in such close proximity (30km) with this bird flu (H5N1 virus) outbreak occurring, and knowing that the government has not taken the proper steps to help control it. Is there reason to panic? Should we be considering what could happen? If this were to indeed mutate into human to human contact – how much time feasibly would people have? What about the 99% of the population who cannot afford to leave if an intense outbreak did occur? Why do they always wait until it’s too late, simply to help buffer their own pocketbooks?

These are questions weighing on my mind. These are the frustrations we’re dealing with. These are the times when it’s not easy to remain here.

From the BBC,
Monday 26, September:

Another two people are confirmed to have died from bird flu in Indonesia, bringing the death toll there to six.

Test results show that both a young girl who died last week and a 27-year-old woman who died on Monday had been exposed to the H5N1 virus.

Several other recent fatalities are being investigated, and about 20 people are in hospital with bird flu symptoms.

The deadly disease has already killed dozens of people across Asia, and led to millions of birds being culled.

There is so far no evidence of human-to-human transmission, but health officials fear that if the virus combines with the human influenza virus, it could become highly infectious and lead to a global flu pandemic.

… Last week Health Minister Siti Fadila Supari warned that Indonesia could be facing an epidemic, remarks which were later played down by other officials.

… The WHO has urged countries with infected poultry to use widespread mass culling as the best method of stopping the spread of the disease.

But the government has only carried out limited culling, preferring to vaccinate poultry because of the expense of compensating farmers.

The recent outbreak in Jakarta is causing particular concern because of the close proximity between birds and humans.

Most Indonesian households keep chickens for food or caged birds for pets.

Finding the source of an outbreak is therefore extremely difficult, our correspondent says, and the chances of the virus spreading in a teeming city of more than 15 million people are high.