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2023-9-29 23:57:19

Indonesia to vaccinate 300 mln birds against H5N1
submited by kickingbird at Sep, 5, 2006 20:8 PM from Reuters

Indonesia plans to begin vaccinating about 300 million poultry next month against bird flu, an official said on Tuesday, amid criticism over the country´s efforts to stamp out the disease.

Indonesia has the world´s highest human death toll from the disease and scientists and the World Bank have urged Jakarta to prioritize controlling the H5N1 virus that is endemic in birds in 29 of the country´s 33 provinces.

Sixty million poultry nationwide would be vaccinated in the

three months to December, Zulkarnain Hassan, coordinator for the Avian Influenza Crisis Center at the agriculture ministry, said.

"Vaccine procurement will be completed this month. After September, mass vaccinations will be conducted," he told Reuters.

Indonesia has bought 91 million doses of bird flu vaccine from China, the Antara state news agency quoted another official at the agriculture ministry as saying on Monday.

The government last week launched a nationwide campaign to improve public awareness, warning the threat from the disease would likely increase when the wet season starts in October.

Experts said public ignorance, along with official ineptitude and lack of money, are hampering efforts to stamp out the disease in the huge country of 220 million people.

Although bird flu remains essentially an animal disease, experts fear it could mutate into a form that can pass easily among humans, possibly killing millions.

Indonesia has so far refused to conduct mass culling of poultry, citing the expense and logistical difficulties in capturing and killing millions of backyard fowl.

The World Bank has been urging Jakarta to increase its budget after it earmarked $46.5 million to fight bird flu in 2007, down from $57.37 million slated for this year.

Vice-President Jusuf Kalla said last week the government hoped to secure about $100 million to fight bird flu next year.

($1 = 9,080 rupiah)

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