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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Indonesia : As avian influenza cases drop, govt told to remain vigilant

Via The Jakarta Post :

" Improving surveillance and scientific research will enable Indonesia to cope with the threat of the avian influenza virus (H5N1), the Health Ministry says.

Health Minister Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih said on Tuesday that as of Sept. 1, there had been seven confirmed cases of H5N1 infections in humans this year in Indonesia, adding that there had been more cases in birds.

“The avian flu virus tends to cause losses among livestock since it can mutate faster in animals than in humans,” Endang told journalists after the inaugural ceremony of a three day table-top exercise on global health security held by the ministry and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Despite the low rate of human infection, she said the disease was still a threat because the virus frequently mutated.

“We should keep on guard against the possibility of a mutation into a new H5N1 virus subtype that could infect humans,” Endang said.

To cope with the virus threats, the government is improving the BSL-3 Laboratory at the Health Ministry’s Research and Development Unit. The BSL-3 Laboratory has the capacity to contain agents that may cause serious or lethal diseases as a result of contact or inhalation. The laboratory is able to sequence viruses both from animals and humans."

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