Health ministry ups monitoring in Padang of alleged bird flu spread

The Health Ministry said on Monday that it told all health officers in Padang, West Sumatra, and surrounding cities to intensify their monitoring for early detection of a possible spread of bird flu.

“Within this week, we will launch a campaign [on the danger of the deadly disease] involving trained volunteers made up of 1,000 members of the family empowerment and welfare movement (PKK), 200 preachers, 570 teachers and 570 students,” said the ministry general director for disease control, Tjandra Yoga Aditama, in a statement sent toThe Jakarta Post.

Tjandra said the precautionary measure came after reports of mass chicken deaths in the city’s eight districts, Padang Barat, Padang Utara, Padang Timur, Padang Selatan, Kuranji, Lubuk Begalung, Koto Tangah and Nanggalo.

Padang Health Agency head Afrida Aziz said earlier last week that her agency was working with the city’s agriculture, forestry and plantation agencies to monitor cases and called for chicken breeders to immediately report unusual chicken deaths so the agency could effectively implement preventive containment measures.

Five people were suspected of having virus and were hospitalized.

“But, none of the patients suspected [of the contraction] in Padang is H5N1 positive,” Tjandra asserted.


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