Thursday, October 13, 2005

Learning from the masters Inaction in Indonesia stirs fears it may become pandemic's cradle

BOGOR, Indonesia - Despite worldwide pressure for Indonesia to contain avian flu, it's taking little action, increasing the odds that a global pandemic could ignite among its islands.

Indonesia resists killing large numbers of chickens to stamp out the disease and has yet to pay farmers for the small number of fowl culled earlier this year.

The inaction has frustrated some global health experts, who say a more deadly strain of the avian flu virus may be mutating in Indonesia and preparing to spark a global catastrophe.

Indonesian authorities are battling the perception that they care less about setting off a global health calamity than they do about protecting a huge poultry industry.

"We care about a pandemic. We do care. But so far, there is no scientific evidence of human-to-human transmission,'' said Mathur Riady, the director-general of livestock services at the Agriculture Department.

And where did our friends in Indonesia learn how to stonewall against scientifically predicted disaster like that? 'Tis a puzzlement....


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