Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government is handling and anticipating the alleged incidence of bird flu in North Jakarta and several other areas in Indonesia, Deputy Health Minister Ali Gufron Mukti said at the Presidential Palace on Tuesday.

"We are more professionally handling the alleged incidence of bird flu for we are definitely anticipating its possible spread to other areas and even to other humans," Ali Gufron said.

He made the statement when asked what the government was doing after a person in North Jakarta, Puguh Dewi, was reported to have died of bird flu on January 7, 2012.

Ali said the government had formed a team to handle the spread of bird flu more effectively and efficiently.

"Of course, preventing the spread of the disease is much better and therefore the government is making an effort to prevent the bird flu virus from spreading," he said.

But asked if bird flu was really spreading in North Jakarta, he said, "We still have to do an investigation before we can confirm this."

Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Suswono admitted that Indonesia was not yet fully free from the bird flu threat.

"But the important thing is that we hope the people will not be reluctant to report if there is a bird flu case, and not to try to cover it up," Suswono said.

Commenting on the alleged bird flu case in North Jakarta, Health Minister Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih said at her office on Tuesday that the national stock of tamiflu, a drug for the treatment of flu infections including bird flu, was still sufficient until the end of 2012.

But she warned people against making close contact with poultry because there was still poultry in which the disease was endemic.

"When there is an extraordinary bird flu case affecting poultry, there is always the possibility the virus will also be tansmitted to humans," Endang said.

She said laboratory tests to determine if Puguh Dewi had really died of bird flu were still underway.

The Health Ministry was now continuously coordinating with the Agriculure Ministry on efforts to anticipate the possibility of an extraordinary bird flu outbreak among poultry, she said.

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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