Markets Swept in Race against Bird Flu

DENPASAR

The Bali Health Authorities swung into action over the weekend, conducting tests and closing poultry markets in an effort to stop the spread of bird flu.

Officials raided the Satria Poultry Market in Denpasar, conducting tests on birds. The market was shut down on Friday after test results revealed several bird on sale there had been suffering from the disease.

Head of the Denpasar Animal Husbandry Department, Anak Agung Gede Bayu Bramasta, said that the market would remain closed for several weeks for disinfection.

“It will only be allowed to reopen once it has been completely cleaned up,” he said, adding that four birds at the market had tested positive for bird flu, and that they and a further 242 chickens and ducks had then been culled.

The sweep of the market came after a member of the public reported that a bird he had bought there had died suddenly last week. The dead bird tested positive for avian influenza.

“Initially, we intended only to disinfect the market. But when we arrived we learned that two more roosters had died earlier in the morning. So we conducted a limited culling,” Bayu said.

Traders were compensated Rp50,000 for each bird culled.


“We will also launch similar operations in all traditional markets and chicken farms throughout the city,” Bayu said.

Officials also disinfected the poultry section at Kumbasari Market.

Head of the department’s bird flu team, Wayan Sukanadi, said that many of the birds on sale were believed to have been shipped in from other parts of Indonesia in contravention of a bylaw banning the unregulated import of live poultry in an effort to stop the spread of bird flu.

Elsewhere, official in Jebrana confirmed on Sunday that several chickens there had tested positive for bird flu. Dozens of chickens have died suddenly in Jembrana in recent days.

“However, not all samples yielded positive results,” Wayan Widarta of the Jembrana Animal Husbandry Department said.

Widarta said that the bird deaths had occurred in Yehembang village in Mendoyo district.

“We have instructed the residents not to let their chickens roam freely and to start spraying the cages with disinfectant,” he said.

The current activity follows the death of an 8-year-old girl from Bangli last week.

Ni Putu Purnami died on Tuesday at Sanglah Hospital in Denpasar. Her family said she had handled dead birds around two months before falling ill.

At the weekend Bali Health Department head I Ketut Suarjaya said that initial lab tests suggested that the girl had not died of bird flu.

“The tests were carried out in two separate labs, the Health Ministry’s laboratory in Jakarta and Udayana University’s bio-molecular lab in Denpasar. Both tests show that the girl didn’t have avian influenza,” he said. However, earlier tests carried out at Sanglah Hospital had shown positive results.

“This is the first time we have ever encountered contradictory results from tests carried out at three different labs,” said hospital spokesman Ken Wirasandhi.

Suarjaya, meanwhile, said that regardless of the test results from the recent death, members of the public should remain alert to the risk of bird flu.

“Remember, always wash your hands with soap after contact with poultry, and work towards clean and healthy behaviour,” he said.

Meanwhile, it was announced this week that a 2-year-old boy in Sumatra had died from bird flu.


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