Bird Flu Mutation â€˜Threatens Millions of Indonesiansâ€™
JAKARTA ~ More than 60 million Indonesians could be infected with deadly bird flu if the virus mutates into a form transmissible between humans, an official has said.
Indonesia is the country worst hit by bird flu, with 107 people known to have died from the disease, 13 of them this year.
“Some 65 million people or 30 percent of the country’s population will be infected if a bird flu pandemic strikes Indonesia,” Bayu Krisnamurthi, head of the national committee for control of avian influenza, told reporters.
He said the estimated figure was based on the number of fatalities from flu pandemics last century.
Krisnamurthi said Indonesia would hold an emergency drill next week in Bali as part of preparations for any such outbreak.
“We never know when it (a pandemic) will happen. This kind of drill will enable us to cope with the situation should one day avian influenza virus mutate into a form that is easily transmitted between humans,” he added.
The drill will involve about 1,000 people and Indonesia “will be the first country in the world that tests its pandemic preparedness plan in full scale,” said Krisnamurthi.Filed under: Health