Jakarta (ANTARA News) - People in West Java must be very careful of bird flu outbreak after the sudden deaths of poultry in several regions of the province.

Concerns about avian influenza have also risen in West Java after a 42-year-old man was suspected to have died from the disease.

The man, identified as A, died on March 3 after being treated at the Hasan Sadikin Hospital in Bandung, spokesman for avian flu control with the hospital, Primal Sudjana, said.

He noted that the man who suffered from multiple organ failure had been treated at two other hospitals in Bandung before being shifted to Hasan Sadikin Hospital.

Primal said A was the second suspected bird flu patient who had died at the Hasan Sadikin Hospital in less than a month after another patient, known as SA, died at the same hospital on February 7.

Meanwhile, West Java Animal Husbandry Office Chief Koesmayadie said in Bandung on Tuesday that sudden poultry deaths had been reported from regions such as Bandung, West Bandung, Bogor, Bekasi, Depok, Kuningan, and Majalengka; all in the West Java Province.

"As of Saturday, March 3, a total of 314 chickens were reported to have suddenly died of the H5N1 virus in Bandung, West Bandung, Bogor, Bekasi, Depok, Kuningan, and Majalengka," Koesmayadie noted.

He added that a research on the possibility of the mutation of the H5N1 virus was underway, as in 2011 a total of 35,308 chickens died of the virus in the province.

Koesmayadie noted that the Animal Husbandry Office has conducted a rapid test against the 314 dead chickens and four of them have tested positive for bird flu.

"Thus, it is likely that there is a mutation of another virus that causes the death of those chickens," Koesmayadie said, adding that the Animal Husbandry Office would continue to carry out its research to confirm whether the chickens in the seven regions died as a result of the H5N1 virus.

He also noted that bird flu cases have started to occur since early this year in West Java, with two persons suspected to have died of the disease in Bandung.

Therefore, Bandung Health Office Chief Achyani Raksanagara has asked the local people to be more careful over the bird flu outbreak.

"We hope the people in West Java, especially in Bandung, will be more watchful over the bird flu outbreak," Achyani said.

The sudden deaths of poultry were also reported to have happened in Bogor but the local health authorities ascertained that nobody had been infected with bird flu virus.

"We have made on-the-spot checks and taken data and we can say that so far nobody in the neighborhood has been infected with the H5N1 virus," Dwi Susanto, a member of the Bogor City Health Office`s surveillance team, said recently.

He said two people in Kampung Kayu Manis in Bogor city`s Tanah Sareal ward, where the chickens died, were found to be sick but a medical check showed them to be suffering from the common flu.

But Anwar, the head of a neighborhood association in Kampung Kayu Manis, said the number of chickens that had died suddenly increased to 32 on Saturday.

"Six more chickens died today bringing the total number to 32 since January 19," he told reporters who met him in the ward.

The sudden chicken deaths began last Thursday and Anwar himself has already lost four of his chickens.

Anwar said nearly all the people in the ward were raising chickens and other birds either to meet their daily needs or as a hobby. The 32 dead chickens belonged to 13 residents of the ward where a total of 53 families or 250 people lived.

A rapid test conducted on one of the dead chickens by officers from Bogor city`s agricultural office on Friday confirmed that it had died of bird flu.

Therefore, the bird flu cases in West Java have yet to be classified into an extraordinary incident, local Health Office Chief Alma Lucyati said here on Tuesday.

"Despite the sudden deaths of poultry in several regions and two persons being suspected to have died of bird flu in Bandung, we can`t declare it as an extraordinary incident yet," Alma said.

However, she urges the local people to be careful at all times and to anticipate the possible transmission of the bird flu virus from poultry to humans.

"We have to remain alert and try to anticipate the possible transmission of the bird flu virus from poultry to humans," Alma noted.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih hoped that the public would be on guard against the rapid spread of H5N1 virus during the monsoon.

"Bird flu is a seasonal disease, as the H5N1 virus spreads rapidly during the rainy season and slowly in the drier seasons," Endang said.

The health minister noted that so long as the poultry were infected with bird flu virus, the transmission of the virus from poultry to humans could not be prevented.

"There is always a possibility that the bird flu virus could be transmuted to humans because of their direct contact with the poultry," Endang said.

She noted that one way to avoid the transmission of the H5N1 virus was by paying attention to neighborhood sanitation and personal hygiene.

Reporter: by Otniel Tamindael
Editor: Priyambodo RH
Copyright © ANTARA 2012