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Bali Bird Flu Update #2

Government Tightens Counter-Measures as Bali Records its Second Confirmed Bird Flu Fatality. Risk to Island's Tourist Visitors Remains 'Miniscule.'

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Despite a range of preventative steps taken by Bali's leaders to prevent the spread of H5N1 Avian Flu among the Island's human population. [See: Bali Bird Flu Update #1], Bali recorded its second confirmed death positively linked to the disease in less than a month. On August 20, 2007, a 28-year-old Tabanan woman, Ni Putu Ayu Sri N, died from the disease. The latest victim and the woman who died 10 days earlier, worked and lived in close proximity to a poultry population in which a large number of chickens were killed by the virus.

The latest confirmed bird flu death in Bali brings the death toll in Indonesia from Avian Bird Flu to 84 among a reported 105 known infections.

A third death, reported late on the night of August 25th, claiming 42-year-old Ni Ketut Sar is still being dealt with as a suspected case, due to the lack of direct contact with infected birds.

In the latest recent developments regarding Bird Flu in Bali:

• Authorities have place an absolute embargo on poultry imports from Java, causing a virtual collapse in the poultry industry in East Java.

• A World Health Organization (WHO) team in cooperation with Indonesian health officials have arrived on the scene of the latest deaths to coordinate disease control measures and take blood samples from both the human and poultry populations in the area.

• Strict sanitation measures and disinfecting spraying continue in the home areas of the two deceased women and in any area where new "suspected" cases are found. Twice daily spraying of antiseptic solutions have been introduced at Bali's main bird market.

• The Provnical House of Representatives in Bali have added a special budget of Rp. 1.8 billion (approximately US$195,500) to create additional isolation treatment areas at Bali's main hospital.

• The government has introduced a program of compensation for poultry owners compelled to destroy their birds to help control the spread of the disease.

Gede Nurjaya, the Head of Bali's Tourism Authority has told the press that there has been no perceptible decrease in tourist arrivals to Bali following the recent H5N1 outbreak, while stressing the need for clear and accurate information on the steps being undertaken by the government to control the disease.

All confirmed and suspected cases of bird flu in Bali trace back to individuals working or living in close proximity to infected bird populations. Disease control experts have yet to find any evidence suggesting a human-to-human contagion chain. As a result, as reported in the latest edition of Time Magazine - "the chances of contracting the disease remain minuscule."

Related Stories

[Bali Bird Flu Update #1]

[Bali Records First Bird Flu Fatality]

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