"But we must stay alert
Koba (ANTARA News) - The Central Bangka Administration is on the alert after an outbreak of avian influenza in Java and is implementing biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of the highly contagious virus.

"The biosecurity measure is a preventive one and will help control the spread of the new strain of avian flu virus in Java," the Head of Livestock and Agriculture Office of Central Bangka, Edi Romdhoni, said here on Thursday.

The administration has advised local farmers to implement the biosecurity measures in their farms. "The measure involves spraying of disinfectants and antiseptic solutions," he explained.

No avian flu case has been reported in Bangka Regency yet. "But we must stay alert," Romdhoni said.

"One of the best ways to prevent an outbreak is to temporarily stop all operations at the husbandry when the biosecurity measures are being implemented," he stated.

"Such measures are particularly helpful during harvest time. After harvesting, we empty the shed and sanitize it. There is no need to rush and fill the area up with new poultry," Romdhoni pointed out.

According to official data, as of September 2012, there were 68,087 broilers and 121,267 free-range chickens (buras).

"We were able to meet market demand with these figures," Romdhoni noted.

Previously, a strain of the H5N1 virus (avian flu) killed thousands of ducks in Yogyakarta, Central Java and East Java.

The strain was named H5N1 claude 2.3.2, which only infected ducks. It is different from H5N1 claude 2.1.3, which infects chickens and humans.

Some regions in Indonesia have temporarily stopped supplying poultry from Java to prevent the spread of the virus.

The Indonesian government has set itself a target of producing a vaccine against avian influenza by the end of this year.

Coordinating Minister of People's Welfare Agung Laksono said: "Although we have yet to put in a place a system of providing compensation, we will have to cull as many ducks as is necessary to prevent an avian flu outbreak."

"However, we will soon implement a policy on compensation. As of now, it remains a challenge for us," he added.

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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