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Bali Crackdown on Bird Flu

392 Ducks Confiscated and Destroyed in Gianyar Regency on April 25, 2006 After Avian Influenza Virus Found in Population of Smuggled Birds.

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Authorities confiscated and destroyed 392 ducks discovered on Tuesday, April 25, 2006 in Blahbatuh, Gianyar Regency. The ducks, 16 of which tested positive for Avian Influenza (AI), had been smuggled into Bali the previous day, evading controls at the Gilimanuk Port after being landed by private vessel on a remote beach in Jembrana, West Bali.

Quarantine officials swooped on the home of a local resident, IB Widnyana, where all the contraband birds were immediately euthanized and blood samples taken before the carcasses were incinerated and buried on site. Bio-security measures, including the disinfecting of the areas surrounding the site at which the infected birds were discovered and the burning of the cages and enclosures used by the birds, were also undertaken.

The confirmation of the latest cases of Avian Influenza(AI) in Bali brings to three the total incidents of AI infected bird populations identified on the Island. In March, 25 imported chickens in Jembrana and 13 more imported chickens in Karangasem were detected and destroyed by officials.

No confirmed cases of Avian Influenza among people living in Bali have been detected to date.

Reacting to the latest confirmation of AI cases in Bali, Bagus Sudibya, Chairman of the Bali Tourism Board (BTB) reminded the public of the absolute prohibition on the import of poultry from other islands into Bali, warning "it is not enough to place all the responsibility on officials charged with monitoring illegal imports. Everyone – including the people, those involved in the poultry trade and the Government – must all take an active role in preventing the spread of the Bird Flu virus." Echoing widespread calls in the community for stern action against those violating the import restriction, Sudibya added, "violations of the prohibition against the import of poultry are criminal acts. We trust that our law enforcement officers will bring the full force of the law to bear on those responsible."

On Going Steps to Control Avian Influenza in Bali

The Livestock Services of Bali are taking a number of steps in towns and villages across Bali to prevent the spread of the disease, including:

• Ongoing education of local farmers, those working in commercial poultry capacities, and local bird markets to increase bio-security measures.

• An ongoing and intensifying program of vaccination of local poultry populations.

• Increased security scrutinizing the movement of live poultry around the island.

• Official appeals to the public to immediately provide information to the police whenever they see evidence of the illegal importation of birds and poultry into Bali.

• Strict programs of bio-security measures and vaccination in any area in which birds and poultry are stored or traded.

• A program of education via the electronic and print media advising the public of the dangers and the potential threat of Avian Influenza.

• Direct "street-level" educational contact regarding Avian Influenza with those employed in the poultry trade at their places of business.

• A cooperative program of monitoring and surveillance coordinated between the Government, the Bali Veterinarian Service and the Veterinarian Faculty of Bali's Udayana University.

Gianyar Regency Introduces Preventive Measures

Responding to the latest confirmed cases of AI in his regency, the Regent of Gianyar A.A. Gde Agung Bharata, has implemented a number of emergency steps to prevent a worsening of the situation:

• Following the destruction of the affected population of smuggled birds, coordinated command posts have been set up for villagers in the surrounding areas to report any symptoms of AI in either the human or local bird populations.

• Special teams including members of the Health Service, Agricultural Service, local law enforcement and the special command posts have been put in the place in the Regency for the 10 days following the most recent discovery of infected birds in Gianyar.

• All birds within a 100 meter radius of where the inspected birds were caged have been destroyed with the Government providing cash compensation at half of the market value of the destroyed livestock.

• Those involved in the cases of illegal importation of poultry are now being processed through the legal system. Current regulations (Law No. 16 of 1992) provide for up to 3 years in prison and Rp. 150 million (approximately US$16,666) in fines for each conviction. At present, 5 suspects are being detained by Bali Police in connection with violations of the import ban.

Governor's Statement

On Thursday, April 27, 2006, Bali's Governor Made Beratha instructed all Regents across the island of Bali to increase their vigilance against the spread of Avian Influenza asking for strict enforcement of the absolute prohibition on the import of birds and poultry from outside Bali into the island.

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