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Monday 24th October 2016

Bird flu continues in SE Asia

7th May 2007

An Indonesian man has died, bringing the number of deaths from avian influenza in the country to 75. Meanwhile, a fresh outbreak of the H5N1 virus has been reported on a Vietnam duck farm.


The Indonesian man died on May 3, and was confirmed as having bird flu shortly afterwards by the Aijkman Molecular Biology Institute, local media reported.

The 29-year-old trader fell ill in late April in Pekanbaru city on Sumatra. He was later transferred to another hospital.

Bird flu has been found in 11 Indonesian provinces to date.

In Vietnam, veterinary officials said the virus was found in a duck flock in the central province of Nghe An, also in early May.

Nearly half the flock had died, and specimens later tested positive for an H5 influenza virus, health officials said.

Other flocks in the area have been culled, and disinfection and quarantine measures have been put in place around the affected area.

Millions of poultry have been slaughtered in Vietnam since the outbreak began in December 2003.

To date, Vietnam has detected over 2,000 bird flu outbreaks among poultry, leading to the killing or the forced killing of over 40 million birds, or about 15% of its poultry population, according to a recent World Bank report on the country. The direct cost of bird flu in Vietnam is estimated at 200 million US dollars so far, the bank said.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called on Vietnam to speed up poultry vaccinations. Waterfowl are a reservoir for the disease and can spread the H5N1 virus in their droppings as they roam through rice fields. Ducks often show no symptoms of sickness, making it harder to contain the virus.

Animal health officials say 60 of Vietnam's 64 provinces have so far finished or nearly completed the first of a two-phase vaccination campaign which targets up to 90% of the country's poultry.

The virus has killed 170 people in 11 countries, most of them in Indonesia and Vietnam, according to the WHO.

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