From December 2003, outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza were reported in poultry populations in South-East Asian and beyond. Within Asia, outbreaks of the virus were reported in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia and Vietnam. The strain, identified as H5N1, has led to massive die-offs in birds, chickens and duck populations. The disease has also infected a small number of people.
Human cases of avian influenza H5N1 have been detected in many countries. The majority of the human cases are a result of direct contact of humans with infected poultry or contaminated environments. There are a few instances where limited human-to-human transmission of the virus could not be ruled out. Despite this, there have not been large clusters of human cases. This indicates that the virus is not yet adapted for widespread human-to-human transmission. With the alarming spread of the virus globally and the pandemic potential that it poses, the World Health Organization (WHO) is working hand-in-hand with the Indonesian Government to respond to the outbreak. Activities include enhanced surveillance, outbreak management and hospital preparedness.
WHO is also working at the regional level and at global level to strengthen the response to avian influenza H5N1 and pandemic preparedness. Up-to-date information about the outbreak and practical guidelines can be accessed from this website.