H5N1 is back in Indonesia. Via Tempo: Researchers Blame Over-Vaccination for Outbreak in East Java.
Airlangga University's Avian Influenza Research Centre (AIRC) is researching samples of the H5N1 avian influenza virus that killed almost 6,000 poultry across Banyuwangi and Lamongan in East Java in March - and researchers are suspecting that a malignant mutation is the cause behind the return of the outbreak on Indonesian soil.
"The outbreak that happened in early March is possibly caused by a mutated form of the H5N1 virus - and our preliminary hypothesis is that the virus managed to mutate in a short period of time due to the overuse of vaccines that spiralled out of control," said the Head of AIRC, C.A. Nidom to Tempo on Wednesday, March 16, 2016.
Nidom and his team extracted samples from all across Banyuwangi and Lamongan to check for traces of the viruses - taking as much as 20 samples from poultry vendors and farmers in Lamongan. "We will analyse the samples to see how far the virus have mutated - as well as to see whether this new mutation has the capacity to cross the species barrier," he said.
The claim of over-vaccination has been rebutted by East Java's Farming and Animal Husbandry Agency, who said that the administration of vaccines are tightly monitored by the Agency. "The government has a Quality Control Agency that monitors the quality of the vaccines that are available on the market," said the Head of Animal Health for East Java's Farming and Animal Husbandry Agency, Iswahyudi.
According to Iswahyudi, vaccines that are available in the market should already be certified and patented. "If not, then such vaccines are illegal," he said.
Previously, more than 5,000 chickens and ducks have died en masse due to the H5N1 virus in the hamlet of Wringinagung in Sumberejo village, Gambiran district in Banyuwangi. Meanwhile in Lamongan's Sukorame district, some 610 fowls have died from the same virus.
A farmer in Banyuwangi have also been isolated to be monitored over suspicions that he has contracted the deadly virus.