Bird flu has likely caused the death of thousands of chickens in Bantul, Yogyakarta, over the past two months, said the head of the regency’s Agriculture and Forestry Agency, Edy Suharyanta, on Wednesday. He said that the chickens died suddenly without showing any symptoms, similar to death caused by the bird flu, adding that some areas in Banten are endemic to the virus. Sumarwanto, a resident of Srigading, Banten, said that some 100 chickens died suddenly during the past two weeks and that they did not show any symptoms prior to their death.
“They still looked healthy in the evening. Then the next morning, they would suddenly die with their heads turning red,” he said. While the mass and sudden deaths indicated a bird flu outbreak, Edy said that the agency still had to wait for the laboratory tests’ results to determine the exact cause of the deaths. Bird flu is still considered a serious pandemic threat because of its continued presence in poultry in numerous countries, its tendency to quickly mutate and change, its ability to infect humans and its continuing high mortality rate. Since 2005, a total of 192 cases of bird flu have been recorded in Indonesia and have caused 160 fatalities.
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