The local health authorities have begun implementing the necessary measures to deal with the ongoing outbreak of avian influenza affecting the duck population, and the possible spillover of the disease into the human population.
The measures have been taken following confirmed reports of avian influenza killing thousands of ducks in farming areas in three separate regencies: Buleleng, Tabanan and Klungkung.
Laboratory tests have confirmed that the ducks were killed by the new, more malignant strain of the avian influenza virus known as H5N1 Clade 2.3.2. A similar strain of the virus killed hundreds of thousands of ducks across farming regions in Java weeks before the first reported case in Bali.
Provincial Animal Husbandry and Health Agency head Putu Sumantra stated that preventing the spread of the disease was his top priority.
“Our priority now is preventing the disease from spreading into vulnerable regencies, like Badung, Gianyar and Jembrana, which all have sizeable duck populations,” Sumantra stated, adding that local animal husbandry agencies across the island had been alerted to implement preventive measures.
One effective preventive measure is selected culling, in which infected ducks and ducks at infected farms are killed and the carcasses burned before being buried under the supervision of the agency’s officials.
“As many as 1,500 ducks have been culled; the farmers will get financial compensation from the local administration,” he said, adding that the agency was still negotiating with the local administrations in the affected areas on the amount of compensation and the legal foundation for the compensation mechanism.
“If the outbreak escalates into an epidemic, we will find a way so as the provincial agency could play a role in providing monetary compensation to the farmers.”