Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Health Ministry has assured that there has been no significant increase in cases related to the sudden death of hundreds of poultry in Koto Kampar XIII sub-district, Riau province.

"We conducted an epidemiological investigation of the farmers, while the Agriculture Ministry carried out the investigation on the poultry. In addition, the poultry sudden death case in South Kalimantan that occurred in February had no significant increase as well," head of the ministry's communication and public services bureau Siti Nadia Tarmizi informed in Jakarta on Friday.

She said that her party and the Agriculture Ministry are conducting sample tests to detect bird flu (H5N1) cases.

"For the poultry, the Agriculture Ministry will handle it," she added.

She said that samples of dead poultry from Riau province have been sent to Bukittinggi Veterinary Center in West Sumatra for examination.

There have been no reports regarding the transmission of the H5N1 virus from animals to humans, she added.

Earlier, the South Kalimantan provincial government had formed an outbreak investigation team at livestock centers in 13 districts/cities in the region to prevent bird flu clade in the local area from spreading to other regions.

After a suspected bird flu case was detected at the end of 2022 in North Hulu Sungai district, there have been no other positive cases of bird flu in poultry.

The Association of Indonesian Pulmonologists (PDPI) also urged people to avoid direct contact with sick birds and remain alert for sudden deaths in birds to prevent the transmission of bird flu from birds to humans.

Humans who come in contact with poultry must wash their hands immediately with soap or disinfectant and avoid touching their face and eyes before washing hands, member of PDPI, Dr. Erlina Burhan, advised.

Meanwhile, Professor of Molecular Biology at Airlangga University, Chairul Anwar Nidom, said that the transmission of bird flu to humans is rare, but the possibility is still open, so it must not be taken lightly.

"The World Health Organization (WHO) informed that bird flu transmission to humans was rare but could happen," he noted.

However, Nidom advised the public to not harbor concerns since until now, no incidents of human-to-human bird flu transmission have been reported.

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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Resinta S
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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