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Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Indonesian’s bird flu commission recommends more robust AI Vaccination campaign

The head of Indonesia’s bird flu coordinating committee on June 14, 2007 recommended a more robust vaccination program and other steps to bring avian influenza under control in the bird population. Mr. Bayu Krisnamurthi announced the new recommendations following two days of consultations with international experts in Jakarta.

“We have learned a lot in the past several years about controlling the virus and we must use what we have learned to improve and expand the Al program to ensure that communities across this vast archipelago are no longer at risk” said Bayu Krisnamurthi, Chief Executive of Indonesia’s National Coordinating Committee for Avian Influenza Control and Pandemic Influenza Preparedness(KOMNAS FBPI). Mr. Krisnamurthi said that while vaccination is occurring in many areas, as few as 25% are properly vaccinated in rural and backyard farms. He said the new recommendations would improve the effectiveness of the vaccination program.

Mr.Krisnamurthi said that at present, three vaccine strains should be used (inactivated homologous oil-based-emulsion H5N1, or heterologous H5N2 or H5N9). He called for an integrated vaccination program that clearly outlines every step of the process including selecting vaccine, logistics, and human resources. The effectiveness of vaccine is another crucial issue that will be addressed.

“It is vital that all vaccines used are approved by the Department of Agriculture and given to healthy poultry under the supervision of a veterinarian. A successful vaccination program must be well funded with qualified vaccinators and logistical support,” said Mr. Krisnamurthi.

All vaccines should be registered and authorized by the Ministry of Agriculture.
Other areas that need to be addressed include linking vaccination with bio-security, expanding vaccination programs to include chickens as well as well as other birds, and targeting vaccination campaigns in high-risk areas. He stressed that only healthy flocks should be vaccinated, under the guidance of a veterinarian.

The vaccine used and the vaccination process will have to be revaluated over time according to the development of the virus in the field, he said.
Following expert consultations, Mr. Krisnamurthi said it is clear that more work is needed in other areas as well, such as strengthening and expanding animal health services, restructuring the poultry industry from production through to retail sales. Experts pledged to continue to work with the Government of Indonesia and support KOMNAS FBPI to control the virus in poultry and reduce the threat of a pandemic.

“The ability of the H5N1 virus to cause human disease and death and the potential for the emergence of a major human influenza pandemic virus has dramatically increased official concerns,” said Laurence Gleeson, Regional Head of the Emergency Center for Transboundary Animal Diseases for the Food and Agriculture Organization.

The Avian influenza virus is a highly pathogenic virus that mainly affects birds. In rare cased, the disease can also infect humans. Experts fear that so called bird flu could change into a novel influenza virus that spreads easily between humans, with the potential to ignite a global influenza pandemic

There are steps that every Indonesian can take to lower than risk of contracting the H5N1 virus.
1.Do not touch sick or dying birds; if you do, immediately wash your hands and report to local authorities.
2.Wash your hands and utensils with soap and water before you eat or cook. Cook all poultry and eggs well.
3.Separate your birds and separate all new flocks for two weeks.
4.Go immediately to a health clinic if you have a fever with flu-like symptoms and have had contact with birds.


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