JAKARTA, May 13 (Xinhuanet) -- After the latest bird flu outbreak in South Sulawesi province, the Indonesian Ministry of Health is intensifying surveillance in case of human infection by the pathogenic virus, officials said.
Last week, the ministry sent six specimens from poultry workers in the province with suspected bird flu infection to Hong Kong forlaboratory tests. Earlier, at least 77 more samples were sent to Hong Kong for the same purpose in March and April .
"We sent some blood samples of farm workers from the regencies of Sidenreng Rappang, Pinrang, Wajo, Maros and Soppeng," South Sulawesi Health Office Head Muhadir was quoted as saying by Jakarta Post Friday.
The province was hit by avian flu in March. Tests on dead chickens in the five regencies showed that the poultry was infected with the H5N1 strain of bird flu, which allegedly spread from West Java Province, where the first case was discovered last year.
Despite the bird flu outbreak, there was no confirmed case of human infection in Indonesia. According to WHO representative Georg Petersen, the H5N1 virus can infect human beings.
Ministry of Health Director for Eradication of Diseases Transmitted by Animals Hariadi Wibisono said that his office had been intensifying bird flu monitoring in South Sulawesi Province after the outbreak in March by monitoring clinical symptoms in local hospitals and health centers as well as conducting campaignson safety procedures for poultry workers, such as the use of masksand disinfectant sprays after entering livestock areas.
The World Health Organization said in its website that people who ate chicken should not worry about getting infected. If the meat is cooked properly, the avian flu virus will be killed as it cannot survive at high temperatures. Enditem