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Over 100 million chickens in Indonesia vaccinated against bird flu

Published on 17 November, 2006, Last updated at 10:33 GMT


The Indonesian government has vaccinated about 140 million chickens against bird flu, which account for only 10 percent of the total of 1.4 billion chickens across the country, an official said.

The vaccination has to be optimized to prevent a bird flu epidemic in Indonesia, Antara news agency Friday quoted National Commission's expert panel member Amin Soebandrio as saying.

He said the low quality vaccine injected into the chickens might create a new and more dangerous strain of the virus.

"In the past, chickens would die if they had bird flu, but now they are still alive even if they have the virus," he said, adding that the chickens infected with the bird flu virus are really dangerous as they are constantly roaming from one place to another.

Amin expressed regret about an ad hoc method to tackle bird flu cases in the country.

"It is regrettable that bird flu vaccination was not followed up," he said here on Thursday.

He said the people's awareness of bio-security against bird flu and depopulation of bird flu-infected poultry was still low.

"Many trucks carrying poultry were passing populated areas and clogged roads while we don't know whether the poultry is infected with bird flu or not," he said.

Amin also said that lack of fund led to ineffective government's measures to depopulate bird flu-infected poultry.

The death toll in bird flu cases in Indonesia was recorded at 57, the highest in the world.

According to the World Health Organization (HWO), bird flu has infected more than 250 people worldwide since late 2003, killing more than 150.

The Indonesian government has rejected mass culling of birds, citing the cost and impracticality in a sprawling, populous country where many people are still unperturbed by the bird flu threat.


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