Indonesia culls over 100,000 ducks to stop bird flu

Jakarta, Dec 24 (IANS) Indonesia has culled 112,000 ducks for having a new strain of bird flu virus in the country, an official said here Monday.

"Until now, we have culled 112,000 ducks in the country," Pudjatmoko, director of Animal Health in the Agriculture Ministry, was quoted by inilah.com as saying, reports Xinhua.

The Indonesian government plans to take measures to prevent the spread of the new strain of avian influenza virus, which is more virulent.

The step was taken following the finding of the new clad of H5N1 virus after the death of over 320,000 ducks in some provinces in Java island was reported since November.

Indonesia has been investigating the origin of the new clad, which is very different from the H5N1 virus found in recent years.

The agriculture ministry said that the cause of the emergence of the news strain may be drift mutation or genetic shift from the previous viruses or importation of poultry from overseas.

Indonesia has been hit hardest by bird flu since 2003, the virus has killed 160 people out of 192 cases since 2005, according to health ministry.

But, so far the new strain of H5N1 virus on ducks has not caused human fatality, the ministry said.

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