Indonesia to assist Egypt in bird flu fight

Abdel-Rahman Hussein
4 Min Read

CAIRO: Indonesia will share its newly developed avian flu vaccine with Egypt if the countermeasure proves effective, Aburizal Bakrie, Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare in Indonesia, told The Daily Star Egypt.

He said Indonesia has developed a human vaccine to be released by September 2007.

“Our vaccine will be based on the Indonesian strain [of bird flu], Bakrie said. We have the patent, and if it is successful we will share it with Egypt.

He added “we should tackle avian flu on both fronts; the birds and people. And we should prepare for a pandemic.

Bakrie headed an Indonesian delegation which visited Egypt by invitation from the WFP (United Nations World Food Program) to discuss and observe numerous matters of development.

The delegation met with senior Egyptian officials including Ali El-Meselhi, Minister of Social Solidarity; Fayza Aboulnaga, Minister of International Cooperation; Amin Abaza, Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation and Ambassador Moushira Khattab, Secretary General of the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood.

In an impromptu meeting with the press, Bakrie, who also chairs the National Council of Avian Flu in Indonesia, discussed the challenges both Indonesia and Egypt face in attempting to quell the outbreak of avian flu.

He told The Daily Star Egypt: The most important thing is to separate the people from the birds which is a problem, because you’re changing the structure of the industry itself.

He explained that the government needed to be firm in applying countermeasures against the spread of bird flu.

This is the most difficult thing; you should be tough in culling for instance, he stressed.

On Thursday, local press reported that an Egyptian girl had contracted the potentially deadly bird flu strain, bringing to 25 the number of people to be diagnosed with the disease since it appeared in the country last year.

Ten-year-old Amira Abdel Latif Nayal from the southern city of Aswan was admitted to a hospital there on Tuesday, suffering from fever and muscle pain, health ministry spokesman Abdel Rahman Shine told the Middle East News Agency (Mena).

Nayal tested positive for the H5N1 strain of bird flu, Mena said, but gave no details on how the girl contracted the virus.Out of the 25 Egyptians who contracted bird flu since last February, 13 have died. Most of the infected have been women or girls, who normally tend to look after chickens and turkeys kept in the backyards of Egyptian homes.

Since the outbreak of bird flu last year, Egypt has been one of the worst-affected countries outside Asia, where the disease originated. It lies on a main route for migratory birds, which are believed to have brought disease from Asia.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that mutations were found in two fatalities in Egypt. In those cases, the virus had mutated to a form that could be resistant to the drug Tamiflu, also known as oseltamivir, most often medication of choice for treating human bird flu cases. With additional reports by Reuters

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