November 20, 2008
The South Sulawesi administration in Indonesia on Tuesday (November 11) started a provincial Bird Flu Control and Handling Commission, as part of an effort to stop the spread of the virus.
Speaking in the provincial capital Makassar, Governor Syahrul Yasin Limpo, who appointed the commission's 51 members, said bird flu had spread widely across the province, with a new case detected last week in Makassar's Sudiang subdistrict.
He added because it was difficult to track the virus, the province had drawn up preventive actions to stop the virus from infecting more people.
The commission is set up with the aim to involve all parts of the society and help distribute information on bird flu. It will also be actively involved in prevention and handling during emergency situations.
In line with the setting up of the commission, new measures that call for more stringent precautions are also enforced. Once a bird flu case is detected, all poultry in the affected area must be culled and the area sealed off. Any residents showing symptoms of the disease must be taken to the nearest community health centre (Puskesmas) and treated at a designated hospital.
Meanwhile, South Sulawesi Health Agency head Rachmat Latief said 17 patients were suspected of being infected with the virus but they were in better condition after a 6-day intensive treatment at Wahidin Sudirohusodo General Hospital.
However, they are not yet allowed to return home pending laboratory results of tests on blood and phlegm samples.