Indonesia to Ban Poultry in Residential
Areas as H5N1 Virus Surges in Asia and Africa
Since December 2006 a
surge in H5N1 avian influenza virus infections have been reported in poultry in multiple nations and a limited number of laboratory-confirmed
human cases have occurred in Indonesia, Egypt, and China. Nations reporting new H5N1 outbreaks in
animals include Thailand,
The outbreak in Thailand
was reported by the Bangkok Post January 16th as the fifth round of
H5N1 outbreaks since January 2004, and the first in six months, occurring on a
duck farm in Phitsanulok province.
has reported five (5) laboratory-confirmed human infections with the H5N1 avian
flu virus to the World Health Organization (WHO) this month. One included a
woman and her 18 year-old son. No other family members have tested positive and
to date no other family clusters have been confirmed. Of note, there is still
no evidence of a mutation or reassortment of H5N1 flu virus that has allowed
sustained transmission of the virus from person-to-person-to-person-to person.
has reported a plan to forbid domesticated birds in residential areas,
according to The Jakarta Post January 17 (Headline News. “City “Workers Prepare
for Bird Culls” by Theresia Sufa). The
Jakarta Post article states that Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso “called on city
residents to voluntarily slaughter all backyard fowls--especially chickens,
ducks, and pigeons—to curb the spread of bird flu”. Sutiyosos’s statement
“followed an announcement by Vice President Jusuf Kalla that the central
government planned eventually to enforce a total ban on all poultry in
residential areas nationwide”.
Currently, however, the critical issues of monetary
compensation to poultry owners and laws to support the planned widespread
culling of poultry in residential areas in Jakarta
and across the Indonesian archipelago must be addressed. The societal and financial impact of such
widespread culling could be profound.
International support in terms of compensation for loss of
both small numbers of poultry and for owners of larger commercial poultry
industries could be argued to be of multidimensional international benefit
given the immense costs of a human influenza global epidemic if a highly
pathogenic avian influenza virus acquires the ability to spread between humans
in a sustained and efficient manner.
Daniel R. Lucey, MD, MPH
Director, Center for Biologic Counterterrorism and Emerging
EROne Institutes, Department of Emergency Medicine, Washington
M.S. Program in
Bioidefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases, Washington,