Tuesday, November 29, 2005

News - Jakarta takes proactive stance over bird flu

JAKARTA, Nov. 29 (Xinhuanet) -- The Jakarta administration had started taking more active measures to contain the spread of bird flu by launching a random monitoring operation, aside from relying on tip-offs from people about its cases found in their neighborhoods, said the Jakarta Post Tuesday

"Besides receiving complaints from people over suspected bird flu cases, we also carry out random checks on birds in several areas to spot birds infected with avian influenza," Central Jakarta Mayor Muhayat told the paper on Monday.

Once the officers found any infected birds through a quick blood test, Muhayat said, they would immediately kill the birds without requiring laboratory tests to confirm the presence of the virus.

"Further tests mean higher costs and more time. We cannot afford that. That's why we have to react swiftly to prevent the spread of the virus to humans," he asserted.

Central Jakarta is a priority municipality in the capital sincecentral government offices, national and foreign companies and foreign embassies are located there.

The concern of the administration over the bird flu outbreak reached new heights after it discovered infected birds in seven of20 sub-districts tested for the virus, predicting that cases in many areas would be found as monitoring continued.

East Jakarta had the highest cases -- with five sub-districts, while North Jakarta and West Jakarta had one infected sub-district each.

"All five municipalities are told to conduct random monitoring as a standard operating procedure to contain the bird flu outbreak simultaneously here," Muhayat asserted.

The World Health Organization-sanctioned laboratory in Hong Kong has confirmed 12 human infections in Indonesia to date. Seven people have died from the virus. Enditem

Xinhua - English

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