Indonesia: FAO warns livestock farmers of new bird flu virus

Mohammad Anthoni Antara 6 Jul 18;

Officials of the Agriculture Office of Surabaya City injected Medivac AI (Avian Influenza) vaccine to the chickens owned by residents in Surabaya, East Java, some time ago. (ANTARA PHOTO/Didik Suhartono)

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Agriculture Ministry and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have warned livestock farmers of a pandemic threat of a new bird flu in Indonesia.

A new bird flu, H9N2, which has the characteristics of "low pathogenic avian influenza" (LPAI) has been found in Indonesia since early 2017.

The virus is not a danger to humans, but it would cause a decline in poultry productivity, an official news release said here on Thursday.

The virus could reduce egg layer productivity to 70 percent, the news release said.

In a bid to cope with the problem the Agriculture Ministry , the FAO ECTAD Indonesia and a number of other institutions have taken steps that farmers produce healthy poultry for the public consumption.

Among the steps already taken is by taking part in the annual forum of Indolivestock which took place in the Jakarta Convention Center (JCC) from July 4 to 6 in 2018.

"We re facing challenge of a decline in egg production as a result of H9N2. In addition we are in difficulty in producing vaccine. Previously there was the H5N1 type of bird flu (which is highly pathogenic), for which vaccine production is easier. Now there is the type of H9N2 virus for which it is difficult to produce the right vaccine," Director of Animal Health of the Agriculture Ministry Fadjar Sumping, said in a National Poultry Seminar at the JCC on Thursday.

Fajar said he had also received reports about the death of broilers resulting in many speculations about the causes of the deaths.

There were suspicions of infection by a certain animal disease or infection from a combination of a number of diseases, and problem over food management, vaccination , etc.

Fajar , therefore, advised farmers to improve management of chicken coops to prevent infection by virus on poultry.

"Our other attention is related to the use of antibiotics growth promoter (AGP) in poultry farms. This has been banned all over the world. We have tried to tell farmers that AGP would turn out only short term benefit, but would hurt very badly in long term," he said.

Meanwhile, chairman of the Team of FAO ECTAD Indonesia James McGrane said the use of antibiotic was harmful as it would cause resistance to anti microbe.

McGrane said the use of antibiotics is difficult to be controlled not only in the sector of human health but also in agriculture sector .

"If we do not do anything, deaths caused by infections that could not be healed as a result of resistant bacteria, could reach 10 million in 2050," he said.

Therefore, through the EPT2 program, which is financed by USAID, FAO ECTAD called on the Indonesian government to increase its capacity in facing and preventing the pandemic threat including anti-microbe resistance, he said.

"I am pleased today that together with the Agriculture Ministry and livestock farmers we discuss problem we are facing and to be faced in the future to find a solution," he said.

Ministry, FAO warn farmers on threats to poultry, antimicrobial resistance
Aria Cindyara Antara 8 Jul 18;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture and the FAO Emergency Centre for Trans-boundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) Indonesia warned farmers on the threats to the national poultry sector from avian influenza and other viruses.

According to a statement received here, Saturday, in early 2017, Indonesia detected H9N2 Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza (LPAI) virus that causes a drop in egg production of up to 70% on affected farms.

The Ministry, along with FAO ECTAD promptly responded to control the virus, including training of district veterinary service officers, on-farm technical support and raising poultry farmers` awareness of best farming practices.

On Thursday, the Ministry and FAO ECTAD conducted a national poultry farmers? seminar at the annual Indolivestock Exposition at the Jakarta Convention Center. The seminar aimed to raise awareness on poultry disease prevention through effective farm bio-security, appropriate flock vaccination and good on-farm management practices to reduce the risks from disease agents.

"We faced challenges in tackling the H9N2 virus, which causes egg drop syndrome. In the past, we were dealing only with Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Virus (HPAI) H5N1, and we were able to produce good vaccines for that virus. However, for H9N2, we are still facing difficulties to produce a good vaccine. In reality, the virus is badly damaging farmers? incomes, because H9N2 decreases egg production," said Animal Health Director of the Ministry of Agriculture Fadjar Sumping at the opening of the seminar.

He explained, that besides H9N2, MoA also recently received many reports of deaths on broiler chicken farms, "We are still investigating those cases, whether they were caused by a sole infection, or involve multiple infections, combined with other problems like bad poultry feed management, lack of vaccination, low biosecurity, etc," he said.

In facing those challenges, Sumping encouraged farmers to improve their farm biosecurity and management, as the best way to prevent viral and bacterial infections in poultry.

"We are now focusing our attention on the use of antibiotics as a growth promotor (AGP) in the poultry sector. This is forbidden in Indonesia, and we have tried to convince farmers that using AGP only provides temporary benefit, and can be very harmful in the long term, "he said.

Agreeing with Sumping, the FAO ECTAD Indonesia Team Leader James McGrane affirmed the misuse and over-use of antibiotics in humans and poultry that have placed humans at great risk due to antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations estimates that about 60,000 tons of antimicrobials are used globally in livestock each year. With the growing demand for animal products, global use is projected to rise by 67 percent by 2030 to 106,000 tons.

"If we don?t do anything, it is estimated that human deaths associated with infections caused by bacteria resistant to antibiotics could reach 10 million by 2050, with half of those fatalities occurring in Asia," he said in his opening remarks.

Through the Emerging Pandemic Threats (EPT-2) programme, funded by USAID, FAO ECTAD together with the MoA are focused on increasing the Government of Indonesia?s capacities to prevent and control global health threats, including AMR.

"I am very glad that today, together with the Ministry of Agriculture and Indonesian poultry farmers, we can sit together to discuss these problems. Let us work together to find the best solutions," McGrane added.

Editor: Otniel Tamindael