The Jakarta Globe - a relatively new English Daily paper out of the Indonesian capitol - has a very long and somewhat meandering article today about public bird flu complacency, changes in the H5N1 virus, the dangers of poultry vaccinations, along with a dose of criticisms of their Ministry of Agriculture.
Frankly, there is enough here to make three articles.
Perhaps the most interesting part of this piece are the comments by Dr C.A. Nidom, regarding mutations in the bird flu virus in Indonesia.
Regular readers of this blog will recognize Dr. Nidom as being the researcher who did antibody testing on stray cats in Indonesia and found 20% had antibodies to the H5N1 virus.
Nidom has been critical of the use of poultry vaccinations in the past, believing that it masks the virus, and ultimately contributes to the mutation of the virus.
Since this is a lengthy piece, I've snipped out large portions. Follow the link to read it in its entirety.
Local researchers have warned that the Indonesian version of the virus has changed, meaning it could be harder to contain, while some health officials and activists said they feared that the eradication campaign is showing signs of complacency. All the while, the specter of a global human bird flu pandemic capable of killing millions remains, with some international scientists saying one is inevitable.
Even though bird flu stories are increasingly rare in local newspapers, Indonesia remains the world’s most-affected country, with 113 human deaths from 139 cases as of Jan. 19, according to the World Health Organization. The national government’s initial blase attitude toward fighting the virus even after 13 people died in 2005 not only alarmed foreign donors and international health officials, but prompted cynics to warn that any global pandemic would originate from Indonesia.
Chairul Anwar Nidom, a leading bird flu researcher from Airlangga University in Surabaya, said that based on his research in 2008, the mutation model of the avian influenza virus has changed and was no longer considered common.
“Poultry no longer die when infected by the virus, but become virus carriers. The virus has changed rapidly,” he told the Jakarta Globe.
His findings were confirmed by poultry disease expert Charles Rangga Tabbu from Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, who said the virus today had different clinical symptoms than the first one discovered in Tangerang, Banten Province, in 2003.
“The virus no longer shows specific clinical symptoms, making it more difficult to recognize,” Charles told Kompas newspaper in a recent interview.
The change in symptoms, he said, was due to a virus mutation, as well as from vaccinated poultry coming into contact with the virus. Such poultry have weak antibodies as a result of being vaccinated, causing the virus to remain in their bodies and ultimately in their feces, Nidom said, who criticized vaccinations as part of the bird flu eradication program.
(Continue. . . )