Sunday, 11 April 2010
JAKARTA (Nikkei)--Total bird flu cases and deaths in Indonesia from 2003-2009 were confirmed at 161 and 134, respectively, more than in any other country in both categories, according to recently released World Health Organization data.
Indonesia's Health Ministry reported separately that 20 people were confirmed infected with H5N1 bird flu in 2009, and that 19 of them died.
It was the country's first announcement about data on the spread of bird flu since January 2009, when the ministry suspended the release of such data for fear of hurting the nation's image.
The change in stance on disclosure came after Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih replaced Siti Fadilah Supari as health minister last October.
The latest data showed the number of bird flu deaths in Indonesia fell below 20 for the first time in four years in 2009, due partly to government efforts to stem the spread of the disease.
Owing to bird flu's high lethality and virulence, experts warn that if the virus begins spreading among people, it will deal a serous blow to societies and economies on a global scale.