The avian influenza (AI) virus existing in Indonesia has so far not mutated, and the public need not fear that it can be passed on by animals other than poultry, an Agriculture Ministry official has said.
Examinations of nearly 300 specimens sent to the WHO's collaboration laboratory in Hong Kong have shown that the bird flu virus in Indonesia had so far not mutated, Antara news agency on Saturday quoted M Zoelkarnain Hasan, head of public communication affairs of the AI Control Unit at the Agriculture Ministry's animal husbandry directorate general, as saying.
Therefore, people in Indonesia need not be afraid of the virus being transmitted by other animals other than poultry, the official said here Friday.
If an animal other than poultry was infected, the animal would eventually die and the virus would die together with the animal, he said.
So the government was not paying compensation for animals other than chickens or birds such as cats, dogs or pigs that were culled.
On the problem of poultry that were immune to anti-bird flu vaccine, he said the possibility of poultry developing resistance against vaccine did exist. A duck that had been vaccinated later proved to be still carrying the virus.
"A study is currently being made in Bogor to find out more about poultry that are resistant to vaccine," he said.
Indonesia is hardest hit by bird flu in the world with a death toll of 79 out of 99 cases.