Indonesia says dead chickens on Bali may have bird flu

Indonesia says some chickens that have dropped dead on the resort island of Bali in recent days may have had bird flu, though officials are still awaiting test results.

More than 25 birds have died in Padang Sambian, a village on the outskirts of the island's capital Denpasar, since late last week after suddenly falling ill.

Nyoman Dibya, an official at the Bali livestock agency, said Thursday the chickens had the clinical symptoms of the H5N1 strain of the virus that has decimated poultry stocks across the sprawling archipelago.

Bird flu has also jumped to humans, killing four people in Indonesia and sickening three.

"A full laboratory test is needed to accurately determine if the birds had the deadly virus," said Dibya, adding that that could take another week.

If it turns out they did, agriculture and health officials will have to take "firm action" to prevent the disease from spreading across the resort island, Dibya said.

Officials are struggling to convince foreign visitors to come back to Bali following an Oct. 1 terrorist attack that killed 20 people and twin nightclub bombings in 2002 that killed 202.

The tourism industry is responsible for 85 percent of the island's US$1.5 billion annual economy, reports the AP.

Photo:the AFP P.T.

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