Bird flu alert in Indonesia

Indonesian authorities have stepped up bird flu monitoring after thousands of poultry have died on Java island in recent months, officials said Wednesday.

A strain of the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus was believed to have caused the deaths among poultry in Jakarta and other areas, said Emil Agustiono, the head of the National Zoonosis Committee.

``We are investigating whether the source of the outbreak were imported poultry,'' he said. ``If it came from one source, it will be easier to contain.''

``We must remain vigilant and step up biosecurity to prevent its spread.''

No humans had been infected by the latest strain detected on Java, said the Health Ministry's director for disease control, Tjandra Yoga Aditama.

He said the same mutation had also been found in Vietnam, Cambodia, Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong.

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