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 Authorities on alert after bird flu outbreak

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BerichtOnderwerp: Authorities on alert after bird flu outbreak    do 6 aug 2015 - 9:26

The Jakarta Post, Medan, Thu, August 06 2015,

The Deli Serdang regional administration in North Sumatra has sounded an avian flu alert among local farmers and residents after the highly pathogenic virus started killing tens of thousands of domestic birds in the regency over the past several days.

The Deli Serdang Agriculture Agency on Wednesday reported that 57,000 quails at several farms in Karang Anyar subdistrict and scores of chickens and ducks in the Pasar VI Kualanamu and Beringin subdistricts had suddenly died over the past week.

“We concluded that the cause of the death is bird flu after learning the results of the laboratory test on the samples of the dead poultry,” agency head Syamsul Bahri told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

To curb the spread of bird flu, Syamsul said the agency had sprayed disinfectants and helped local farmers clean their poultry cages.

“The losses [from the incidents] can reach up to hundreds of millions of rupiah,” he said.

Influenza viruses that infect birds are called avian influenza, or bird flu, viruses. Avian influenza usually does not make wild birds sick, but can make domesticated birds very sick and kill them.

Avian influenza viruses do not usually infect humans. However, several instances of human infections and outbreaks have been reported since 1997. Symptoms of avian influenza in humans have ranged from typical influenza-like symptoms, like fever, cough and sore throat, to eye infections, pneumonia and acute respiratory distress.

In response to the reported bird flu outbreak in poultry, the Deli Serdang Health Agency has also set up posts to provide medical assistance and advice to residents in affected areas.

Agency secretary Ade Budi Krista said if a person suddenly experienced a high fever after making contact with a dead bird, he or she must immediately go to the post or the nearest community health center to get medical assistance

“So, the bird flu virus does not only attack poultry, but could also infect humans, but don’t panic because it can be prevented,” Ade said.

Ade also called on local residents not to touch dead poultry with their bare hands, or to consume meat from sick poultry as it could make them prone to the virus. “The bird flu virus can cause death among humans, but it depends on a person’s level of immunity,” Ade said.

According to the World Health Organization, avian influenza viruses can sometimes spread to domestic poultry and cause large-scale outbreaks of serious disease. Some of these viruses have also been reported to cross the species barrier and cause disease or subclinical infections in humans and other mammals.

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