Photo Credit – FAO
On Monday we began to see reports that a previously unseen clade of the H5N1 virus had recently turned up in Indonesia, causing the deaths of tens of thousands of ducks (see Report: Clade 2.3.2 H5N1 Detected In Indonesia) in and around central Java.
Today, Radio Australia has an excellent interview (audio & transcript available) with Dr. Alan Hampson about this recent news.
Dr. Hampson, who is chair of Australia’s Influenza Specialist Group (ISG), is the former Deputy Director of the Australian World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza.
Dr. Hampson assesses the risks, discusses how the virus may have arrived in Indonesia, and defines the difficulties in controlling H5N1 in that country.
He also warns that the H5N1 strains currently circulating in the Middle East appear to be the ones moving quickest towards `being able to become a human influenza virus.’
Follow the link to read/listen to this five-minute, highly informative interview.
Updated 12 December 2012, 17:36 AEST
The Indonesian Agriculture Ministry has reportedly identified a new, more virulent type of bird flu that's killed hundreds of thousands of ducks in recent weeks.
There are suspicions the virus entered Indonesia from other countries - like Vietnam or Thailand.
To determine this, the agriculture ministry's veterinary chief has reportedly written a letter to local government offices and the World Health Organisation calling for further research into the origins of the virus.